I thought I would post about what radiation is like. I know most people never have to go through this so I thought I would describe the experience. Of course you have already heard about the uncomfortable piece of metal you lay on. (It is much better now that they have a towel for me!) On my first appointment they made a mold of my upper body with my arm above my head. I lay in this each time so that I am basically in the same position. They also “tattoo” my upper body with a bright blue marker. This marker is designed not to come off easily but since I go every day they touch up when it starts to fade. After I get myself into my mold they turn on the laser lights and match them to the lines on my body. Then they measure all the lines and angles to make sure they match the data they have. If the lines don’t match up they adjust my body until they do. This takes about 5-10 minutes. Then they leave the room and shut the door and my treatment begins. There is no pain involved in the actual treatment. (only in holding my arm up) It is pretty much a large disc that moves over my body shooting down laser beams. This takes only 10-15 minutes. Every other day I get to have a bolus put on. A bolus is like a flexible piece of rubber that is refrigerated. It takes your breath away!! As I understand this draws the radiation up toward the skin and scar. All I know is that it is really cold. I always joke with the therapist and say that now would be a great time for a hot flash! On Tuesday I have films done at the same time. This is just an x-ray done of the treated area to make sure nothing has moved or shifted and they are still treating the area they want to. Because of this Tuesday’s treatments are a little bit longer.
I am now half-way done with the treatments. I have been doing pretty good. I usually don’t get tired until Friday and can manage a nap while the girls take one. I can see why you would get so tired while going through this. Just driving there wears me out. I really feel like it is a job. Not only do I have to drive there and back, I also have to drop the girls off at the babysitters and pick them back up. With working out, treatments, cleaning the house, taking care of the girls, and cooking I am worn out at the end of the week. I couldn’t imagine working during treatments. I am so very blessed that my husband works very hard so that I don’t have to.
My skin has also started to show signs of radiation. The doctor told me that it will start to show half-way through the treatment. My underarm is starting to turn red and looks irritated. Luckily for me I still can’t feel under my arm so it doesn’t bother me yet. Everywhere else is just turning a little pink and even tan. They say if you tan easily then you might end up with a tan instead of a burn. I always joke with the therapist and ask if they could radiate the rest of my body so I can have an even tan.
I thought I would show everyone what the blue pen looks like. I call it my road map. You can see the marks sometimes when I wear certain shirts or my workout shirts. Of course there are many more marks but I didn’t feel comfortable showing all of them.