In order to prevent the cancer cells from starting to grow, my radiation will be done for 28 straight weekdays. So that's almost 6 weeks where I go to my oncology clinic EVERY DAY, lay in a machine, get my right breast burned, and then walk out and continue my normal life. It sounded crazy and life-altering to me at first, but I've been assured that these appointments are 15 minutes long from the time you walk in the door until you are back at your car. The first time slot of the day is 7:45am and I've grabbed it up for the next 27 days, so my normal day starts at 8:00.
I had an appointment last Friday to set me up for this daily radiating. So I lay on a metal table with one arm up and they mapped out what they'll radiate. It took about 20 minutes of them telling me to hold completely still and "breathe normally" (can anyone breathe normally when they've just been told to do so?) for them to get the exact measurements they needed. Though I'd normally have been asking what they're looking for, I was told not to talk. The end result was me looking like this:
The cool part is that dot with a circle. That's a new tattoo I have. It's a little blue dot that they'll use to line up the radiation beam every session, and I have two more of them. Wanna see? (Of course you do.)
Now that I'm all inked up, I can go in every day and they'll burn the right place.
At 7:25 this morning, the whole family loaded into two cars and drove out to HOA in E. Syracuse. Paul took the girls to get coffee (him) and donuts (them), and I went into the building at 7:45. Instead of having a nurse come to the waiting room to get me, an intercom called, "Sharon L, come on back." I was told on Friday that I was to change into my gown (top only) myself and then sit in a holding area until someone came to get me. In order that they don't have to wash gowns that are used by the same person for a short period every day, I was given a cubbyhole. I took this picture after putting on my gown, so although you probably can't read that one says "Sharon L" you can look for the cubby with the white t-shirt and khaki shorts.
Two more 15 second whirrings, then I was done. I got changed and was back outside by 8:00 to send Paul off to work and take Maggie and Reese home. So that'll be the start to every day from now until October 12.
As advised, I put some special cream on the skin today and some Aquaphor this evening, but I really don't feel a thing. I guess it takes a few weeks for the burn to show up, and some people don't get much skin reaction at all. So with the exception of my still bald (but fuzzy) head, lumpy boobs, and some new tattoos, all's back to normal around here.