Last week was the first week of radiation.
The first day is called "mapping" and it involves lead wire. THey tape wire with lead in it around the area to be getting radiation and then do a CT scan. Then they mark all the areas with red permanent marker and take the tape off. They give this scan to the Radiologist and he maps out the degrees and voltage (ok I'm making up voltage but I dont know what its called) and then they send you to an X-ray machine to x-ray the area to make sure the CT scan mapping matches the Xrayed area of concern to radiate.
Radiate? sounds funny as I type it.
Like I lost some sunshine and they have to give me radiation so I radiate again.
Anyway.....then they come at you with black permanent markers and they wiggle and jiggle the x-ray table so that you line up with the marks, remark with black permanent marker and see if the x-rays line up with the CT scan mapping. When its all good they come and give you permanent tattoo dots where the marks are. I have 4 freckle sized permanent marks now.
I was pretty upset about having ink injected in four spots on my chest. It hurts like an angry ant bite. I dont know if its the same as getting a real tattoo since this was a needle with ink in it like a syringe but I sure wouldnt get a tattoo anywhere as a design if that is how much it hurts. Not bad for one single injection but to imagine a whole pattern done is beyond me.
Then after they X-rayed and lined me all up, I got my first dose of radiation. I felt nothing. Its just like getting an x-ray only it lasts a little bit longer, 3 minutes total.
The first day was 5 hours long due to the mapping and everything and after that it was a 10 minute appointment. I go every day except weekends for 7 weeks.
The people handling me and the radiation machine are called Radiation Therapists. Thats what my son has decided he wants to be. He will apply to colleges to be a Radiation Therapist. They have an active job getting the machines set right and helping patients to get lined up and then scurrying out of the room to give the radiation..I think he will do well at this job with his caring and kind personality.
Due to where I live and the insurance I have, the location for this is far away so they offer a shuttle that will take me from the doctors office to the large hospital where they have the radiation machines. This Shuttle is just a large utility van and I have dubbed it the "Party Van".
Its no party as I'm the only patient on the Party Van but I plug my earphones in and listen to the music my son has put on my ipod and text people. I cant read or do any crafts since its a bumpy utility van and I am hanging on for dear life but I enjoy the absolute void of any responsibilities and enjoy the music and conversations on my phone. I bring snacks for the ride home and just make the best of it. I'm usually smiling during the ride.
After all, its the only time in my life the past 25 years where I'm obligated to do NOTHING. So I'm going to enjoy it.