A new start – radiation

November 9, 2017 Thursday

Today was the beginning of my radiation treatments but first I had an appointment with the surgeon.  It was a short, sweet meeting and he looked at the incisions and said everything looked great.  He asked about mammograms and said I need to change the current appointment I have for February that the oncologist had scheduled.  He said to tell her that he and the radiation oncologist are now in charge of mammogram scheduling and that I should not have a mammogram until six months after I finish radiation.  So I called the oncologist and left a message on her nurse’s phone about the change but I have not heard back from the nurse.  Maybe tomorrow.

When it was almost time to leave for radiation, diarrhea struck.  I had cashews and plums for lunch and I expect one of those did not agree with my digestive track and this almost made me late.  I made it barely on time but then had to use the restroom as soon as I got there.  Wouldn’t you know a lady walked into the restroom about 3 feet ahead of me!!!  So I went in the men’s restroom.  It looked just like the women’s and was nice and clean so there was no problem.

Then I went and got undressed/dressed in the open back gown and sat down to wait for someone to come get me.  I had previously dealt with a petite little lady but the person who came to get me was a tall, good looking young man – I was a little surprised.  He took me to a fairly large room with a huge machine in the middle and there was another tall, good looking young man and the petite little lady.  It was kind of strange, but they all knew what they were doing and proceeded to get down to business.  I had to stretch out on a narrow bed with my body in a very specific position and it took them several minutes of moving me around to get that position.  The first thing they did was put a strap about my toes to keep my feet and legs very still and the second thing was to have me extend my arms way above my head, grabbing some handle bar type of thing.  Then they moved my body until I was just where they wanted me.  During all this time, my breasts are in full view – I guess I’ve gotten used to people looking at them because it was no big deal to me at all.  It didn’t used to be that way!!!

The problem was that I had to stay in that position for about 30 minutes.  I was comfortable but it was hard to not move for that long.  At one point, I had to say loudly (since they were no longer in the same room, but behind protective walls) that I needed a warm blanket for my right foot and leg since I could feel a cramp trying to develop.   At another time I needed to scratch my right elbow SO badly but knew that I could not move.  I managed to not scratch until I was given permission but it was difficult to resist scratching.  I wonder what would have happened if I’d had to sneeze violently like I sometimes do.

I had mentioned that I might have to rush to the bathroom at some point and the fella said that I could of course go take care of business whenever I had to do so, but that they would have to take time to start over if I got up!!!  At that point, I had used the restroom twice while I was there and luckily I was able to wait until they finished before I had to go again.

Turns out they were positioning me and taking X-Rays which the doctor had to approve before they could start the radiation.  I think I mentioned the marks on my chest after my CT simulation and those marks did last the week so that they could use them to position me as they needed to.

We decided that instead of me getting more marks on a regular basis, that they would tattoo four little marks on me instead. So now I have four tattoos!!!  They are tiny little purple dots that no one will ever see but I still have tattoos.  Actually, right now I have purple lines all over my chest and I’ve been told not to SCRUB them away but to let them gently wash away over time.  Should be interesting.

Finally they were able to start the radiation and it took perhaps five minutes with parts of the machine moving around me and making different noises.  Sometimes the machine moved me!!  That is a very versatile machine and I bet it cost a few bucks!!!

When it was over, they helped me to sit up again which was difficult since I had been stretched out for so long.  On the way to get dressed again, we discussed the times I will have treatments for the next six weeks.  We decided that I will start at 4:30 until the 3:00 slot comes open in a few weeks.  I suppose my life will pretty much revolve around the treatments until about December 20 or so.

Today, I did not feel anything at all from the radiation but I am going to take some good advice I got and start applying Miaderm lotion to my breast area for the duration of treatments.  It was developed just for this purpose and I expect they know what they are doing and recommending.

I’ll let you know how tomorrow’s treatment goes.

Author: melaniesjourneythroughcancer

I am a retired teacher who was recently diagnosed with triple negative ductal breast cancer. I decided to write this blog to record the actions and emotions that occur as I make this journey through the cancer experience.

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