Six weeks is a long time. A lot can happen in that time. They say it takes 3 weeks for a habit to form so imagine the changes that can happen in 6 weeks time.
The last six weeks for me have been filled with almost daily trips to radiation. At arrival, I say hello to the receptionist and head back to the women’s changing room. I grab a gown from the cabinet, remove my top and tie it around my neck and waist. It’s usually chilly so I sit as close to the oscillating heater as I can. Well, until a hot flash hits. I wait for the technicians to come get me and chat with the ladies waiting beside me while catching up on our HGTV. Sometimes the wait is quick and other times it can take a while.
Once called, I lay down on a hard table lined with a sheet, untie the top of my gown and remove my arms from it. My head fits into the pillow, turned to the right. My arms rest above my head in their spots on the pillow. The pillow is actually hard to hold me in place, not like a typical pillow. A soft, triangular pillow is placed under my knees for comfort. If I’m cold, a warm blanket is placed on my legs and arms.
The technicians work their magic and ensure that I am placed perfectly for treatment. We chat and joke while they work. The first 25 treatments were 5 sets each day plus films. The last 5 were each 1 25ish seconds of treatment. When ready, the technicians leave the room to watch me on cameras and work the machine. The “Beam Ready” light clicks on then switches to the “Beam On” light and a buzzing sound can be heard while the radiation occurs. Today, as usual, while the buzzing sound was heard in my ears, I silently counted the seconds that passed. When I hit 25, the buzzing stopped, the light switched off and the technicians returned.
Only this time, the light switched off for the last time and I wiped tears from my eyes. There were big hugs from the technicians, a certificate of completion and I was done. I quickly changed, walked out of the radiation center and returned to my car. I’m done. Radiation is over and I survived.
My skin should begin healing over the next week. Although it still looks rough in a few places, there is drastic improvement in the areas that haven’t been radiated since last Monday. This part of the journey seemed so far away initially and now it’s over.
Here’s to new beginnings, the end of an era and to new growth.