Tuesday, December 17, 2013

LUMPECTOMY, THE SEQUEL . . . Radiation Day 1; Part 2: Surprise!

 First stop was a long visit to the social worker -- did get some handouts on support groups, etc. Since I love to talk, it wasn't too uncomfortable.

Then one of the women I meet yesterday took me toward the dressing area, and introduced me to more treatment professionals and paraprofessionals.  When I got my gown, the doctor came in and took arm and asked me how I was feeling.  Two women took me past the control room to the treatment room.

 Surprise! retraction:  the room I was tattooed in last week is not the real treatment room!   And the "skinny donut machine" I described just apparently took the scan in the staging room.  (Sorry to have misled anyone.)

 The real radiation machine is big as photos you may have seen, and industrial looking.  They said the big circular end would be very close to me at times.  It was.  They had to move my arm a speck to make room for it. Kinda like a big steel turtle wanting to cuddle up with me for a nap.  I decided on the trusty old MRI technique and just closed my eyes.

When everyone went out to the control room, I mostly kept the eyes closed.  The machine moved around and buzzed at times.  Once a couple of people came in so quietly I almost didn't know they were there.   I could actually hear very soft music far in the background.  There didn't seem to be much actual radiation, just a lot of careful adjusting of angles and checking on the the dosage.  With my eyes closed, it wasn't really scary.  I only said my war cry once, and it was more calm than fierce.

Then to the nurse's room.  Nurse Mabel told me a lot of information, wrote down everyone's name next to their professional duties, and and demonstrated a little "walk up the wall" exercise to keep the breast soft and pliable.  She put all my information and my schedule in a folder, and showed me the way out.

Through the glass door into the exit hall, I could see a giant patch quilt with appliques that seem to suggest children's cancer experiences.  I am thankful to be one person who gets to walk away for the day.

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