I suppose the universe heard me mention that my appointments take quite a bit of time because they’ve been under 30 minutes the last two days, including a doctor’s visit. I don’t mind the wait so much but it’s nice to be in and out so quickly. My technicians are always the same, unless one of them has a day off. Everyone is incredibly kind and patient too. They always seem to be smiling.
I’m getting used to the routine now and know what to expect each day. The receptionists know me so a simple hello is the only way I need to check-in. I head right to the changing room and swap out my shirt for a hospital robe. One of the technicians calls me in pretty quickly after I change and grabs me a warm blanket while I settle in on the table. The table is hard but there’s a sheet over it so it isn’t cold. I lay myself down and they put a triangular pillow under my legs to keep me comfortable. My arms rest in their usual place above my head and I am asked to hold my breath so they can place a small piece of wire tape on each of my sides. When I start treatment, this lets them know whether or not I am breathing in too much or too little. The red line needs to line up perfectly with the tape.
I’m offered a blanket for my arms too but I always decline. It’s incredibly chilly in that room but I am afraid of a hot flash during treatment…if my arms and legs are covered and a hot flash comes, yikes! My skin might actually melt. 😉 The technicians use the extra blanket to warm up my bolus while they leave the room and take my films. The machine moves around me and I’m asked over the intercom to hold my breath on and off.
Once the films are done, the technicians come in and place the bolus over my chest. It helps increase the radiation and basically acts as a layer of skin so that they can treat my actual skin. In order for the bolus to work properly and not have any air pockets between me and the bolus, it is taped in place. They must go through a ton of tape each day! Despite warming it, the bolus is usually still a little cold and it’s hard to sit still while they tape it on me because of the chill.
Next up is treatment. The technicians leave the room again and the machine moves into place. Sometimes they treat me from above first, other times they start under me. The treatment part is over pretty quickly. Once done, the bolus is removed and the technicians help me sit up and head out to get changed. I always lather up with lotion and drink a bottle of water before leaving.
One of the hardest parts of this new routine is the amount of time that I spend in my own head, especially on the treatment table. Even on a good day when the treatment is under 30 minutes, it’s still a while that I can’t move or talk much. It’s hard not to think about what is happening inside and what the radiation is doing to me. If only I could nap while on the table, that would help with the exhaustion that I feel already! 🙂