Well, this week I’m officially on the radiation roadway. On Monday, I had my simulation where the radiology tech walks you through a sample treatment procedure and shows you all the machines. I also had my form made. It’s a big blue pillow that is filled with bead-like material which is similar to a bean bag chair. The pillow is big and starts about at my mid back and goes up passed my head. You lay down on it to shape your head and body into the pillow and put your arms up above your head just like you will do for each radiation treatment. The radiology technician then sucks the air out of the form, leaving it shaped firmly just to fit your body. The form is used for me to lay down upon now for each radiation treatment. The idea is that I will be in the exact same position each time and this form helps the techs place me precisely the same for each treatment. I had x-rays and a CT scan done for the doctor to do all the necessary calculations for my treatments.
I returned on Wednesday once all the calculations were completed. I’m told it is quite a process for the doctor and the radiologists to set up a person’s exact treatment fields. I changed into my hospital gown and robe. I entered the radiation room and laid down on the table. My form is under the sheet that I laid down on so it fits me comfortably. More measurements were checked and other final films were taken.
I then got my tattoos. Three small freckle-like dots down the center of my chest between my breasts and one on each of my sides just down from my armpits. They use these dots to line me up for the radiation beam. I’ve never had a tattoo so I didn’t know what to expect. Apparently it is a similar procedure if a person is getting a regular tattoo. I must say it does sting when they stick you with the needle that has the ink in it. It’s a strong, stinging feeling that burns as the ink is injected. It doesn’t last too long but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’d never be game to have a real tattoo as it hurts too much for my liking.
Once my tattoos were done, we were ready for my first treatment to begin. The main and most important thing is that you must lay completely still and in the exact same position for each treatment. The techs line up the marks and verified all their measurements before they step out of the room for the radiation to begin. The first radiation is done above me and is aimed across my left breast area. It only lasts for about 30 seconds before the machine moves way down near the floor. Then the second radiation is aimed from near the floor passed my armpit up across my left breast.
Anyway the radiation was painless. I’ve had three treatments now and don’t feel anything yet. I’m told that in a few weeks it may begin to get red like a sunburn but I shouldn’t experience any real redness or problems for a few weeks. They do have good gels and creams available should I need them as the treatments progress. But for now, it’s going well on my radiation road. Only about 6 more weeks and I’ll be done.