Day 21: Preheat
Radiation is usually scheduled at the same time Monday through Friday for six to seven weeks. Yes, every single weekday for seven weeks. Just the thought of an everyday treatment for that amount of time is a little daunting. Fortunately, I was able to schedule my appointments for immediately after school. Unbelievably, unlike every other doctor office I've ever been to, the radiology department runs on time. Amazing, right? The first few appointments take a bit longer, but after that I found that I could be in and out, including changing, in about 20-25 minutes. The technicians keep everyone moving along. One day a week, there was a quick detour for blood work. It is possible to have a life during radiation. I worked most days and even managed to go on a school trip with my son. The weekends were free.
James, our son who lives in Georgia, and his wife sent me a lovely tote bag, which I used as my radiation bag. I carried my Kindle, baby wipes, lotion, a spare t-shirt, and my card in it daily. By designating a bag for radiation, I knew that I would have what I needed. It also served as a place to put papers or reports that I was given when I saw the doctor.
All of the really nice places have membership cards and Radiation at the Oncology Center is no exception. I was presented with a photo id with a bar code to be used for checking in when I arrived for radiation. I greeted the receptionist, scanned my card, and went back to the ladies waiting area. There I would change into one of those
attractive gowns with the opening facing front, for obvious reasons. Then sit to wait my turn. Three o'clock was not a popularly scheduled time. I met many ladies, but they were usually there because they had rearranged their schedule for some reason. Cancer is no respecter of persons. The ladies I met were old and young, grandmothers and young mothers, business women and wives. The happy and the sad. There were the bald, the wigged, and the few with hair. Some came alone and others with a friend. All of us feeling a little vulnerable, hopeful, and scared.
'When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;and when you pass through the rivers,they will not sweep over you.When you walk through the fire,you will not be burned;the flames will not set you ablaze." ~Isaiah 43:2