Saturday, December 21, 2013

LUMPECTOMY - THE SEQUEL . . . Day 5: the machine, communication

The treatment was okay today, with George Strait singing in the background.

I confess I've gotten a little curious about the machine (the big steel turtle overhead.)  The part that's toward me doesn't look quite so rough and industrial to me now.  There's what looks like a big square or rectangular lens or window in the center.  At each edge are some numbers or degrees that are probably not longitude and latitude, but I don't know enough of the science to know what they are.  One of the therapists one day had said only:  "That's where the radiation comes out."  That sums it up.

Afterward, they handed me off to the nurse, who said I would be talking to the doctor.  She said something about doing that periodically.  My pulse and  bp were fine, and so was my temperature.  I still get a bit dizzy when I sit up on the bench or table or whatever they call it.

And someone said the doc will be gone until Christmas, and another doctor will be there.

The doctor agreed that I am already a tiny bit pink.  She asked about itching.  I, and I told her I hated that word, and mentioned my dermatitis.  She said okay if I didn't want to talk about it, and started on another topic.  Why the devil didn't I ask her what to do if it itches over the weekend?  And why didn't I realize this before the office closed?  (All my research said the sunburn is usually after three weeks.  I'm not delighted to know it may be sooner.)

I need to go into sessions with her prepped with all key words that might come up and with questions I may want to ask her, although I really didn't expect the itch question today.  I'm still a bit overwhelmed by all of this sometimes

The doctor said I can use what lotion I want until they give me the special radiation treatment lotion. It's okay to use talc or cornstarch under the breast to keep perspiration from irritating.  That was about it.  We all wished each other a merry holiday.

In the evening, I talked to one of my friends who has been through this.  She said she had been given a prescription at the very beginning of radiation, and also named another medicine.  I was irritated that the doctor and nurse had given me nothing so far.  We talked for quite awhile about oncologists and how they talk with us and make suggestions (and when they don't.)  She convinced me not to obsess on it when I should be sleeping.

This morning I was still concerned about possible itching this weekend, so I looked up my friends' medicines on line.  Her prescription was for only burns--an antibacterial.  Her other medicine is for itching, and can sometimes be bought over the counter. It can, however, have side effects, and the internet has a lot of "ask your doctor first' phrases, so I will need to ask the nurse about interactions, etc.  Monday I need to see the nurse.  Or the available doctor.

Good thing I investigated now.  Don't want to be cross with everyone at the Cancer Center next week.

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