Posted by Sappho on June 13th, 2012 filed in Daily Life
I’ve mentioned the side effects I can expect, but I haven’t told you what the treatments themselves are like. This is what they are like. I have my radiation therapy at 8:30am every weekday. At 7:30am, I have to pee and then drink two glasses of water. This is so that my bladder is full when I get the treatment. I drive to the office, go around to the oncology patient reserved spaces in the back (there are many medical offices there with patients to compete for the other spaces), enter the back door and put my name on the sign in sheet. Then I go to the waiting room, and see whether I have time to put any pieces in the waiting room jigsaw puzzle before I am called. Usually, I don’t have long, but I may be able to get a piece, or two, or sometimes even five, in.
When I’m called, I go to the room with the radiation machine. Here is a photo of the machine and here is a photo of me with the machine. Before the treatments, they made a mold of my feet, and told me to wear the same shoes each day that I wore when the mold was made (hiking boots, in my case). But my mold got punctured, so instead of using it they strap my feet to a block to hold me still. I lie down, with my feet strapped, and my hands clutching a ring so that I keep still, while they first adjust me, lining up the marks they have made on my body exactly (at this point they take an X-ray), and then send the radiation machine around me. I need to lie still for about fifteen or twenty minutes. The radiation feels like nothing, at the time (any effect that I feel from it comes later). Once a week I meet with the doctor after my treatment (I’ll have that meeting today). Once every two weeks I get my blood counts taken, to be sure that my red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are all still OK.