Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bake

    If you are just stopping in, this is the twenty second post in my 31 Day Series:  I Wear Pink.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer on February 18, 2009.   This series is about my journey with breast cancer.  You can find the previous posts here.

Day 22:  Bake

     Many people have asked me what radiation is like.  Considering it is an almost daily thing, it is not that bad.  After I checked in and changed into a gown, a lovely radiation tech invited me to the radiation room.  The ladies and men who work in the radiation/oncology department were very friendly, optimistic, and good listeners.  The ones that worked with me were usually the same five people, although I usually saw just three of them at a time.
     The door to the radiation room is extremely thick.  It has yellow nuclear signs on it.  It sounds more intimidating than it actually is.
     Once in the room everyone double checks that you are you and the mold is the correct one.  In the radiation room I was in, there were many molds hanging on a rack like you might see at a dry-cleaners.  Many were like mine, but there were also face masks and other molds, whose purpose I didn't recognize.   I lay down on the narrow sheet draped table on top of the mold in the position I was in when it was made.  A tech moved the table with a remote control back and into the machine.  Then I was manipulated more precisely into position.  Once again I was asked not to help.  The techs shifted me with the sheet I was lying on.  They pulled it and rolled me just a little bit at a time.  The table moves up and down and side to side until I was positioned exactly right.  
Source - This is not me.
     The lights in the radiation room are kept low.  The techs lined up the tattoo dots in the radiation field so that they radiated only the area they were supposed to using laser light cross hairs.  This was not a time for modesty.  Remember, they have seen it all and then some.  The techs tried to make me feel comfortable and when I was all set they covered me with an additional gown so I wouldn't feel quite so exposed.  Then they left shutting that huge door behind them.  There was a viewing window and a microphone so that I could talk with them and they with me.  I was never really completely alone.  
Source
     The radiation itself does not cause any pain.  I couldn't even feel it.  The machine buzzed and made clicking noises.  I lay still and counted the clicks. When radiation was finished the lovely tech people came back through the door and moved the table back and down so that I could get up.  
     I am saddened to report that I did not gain any type of superpower from my radiation exposure.  I had hoped that I might get invisibility or super strength, but no such luck.  
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