Thursday, February 18, 2010

OLD Radiation Part 2

This is part 2 of the old radiation blog that I wrote.
I revised it a bit to try to keep it short and sweet.
Fear not, the pictures are less graphic this time ;)
I'm in the process of writing about the radiation treatments that I am currently undergoing, and hoping to get that post up in the next couple days. As far as info regarding my future chemotherapy and whatnot, I won't have any new information on that until I speak with Dr. Vandenburg on Tuesday, Feb 23.
Thank you so much for reading:)
Love you guys!!!

June 15th, 2009
Radiation treatment #1

Somehow on my first day of treatment, I managed to arrive late. As I think I have mentioned about a hundred times before, I HATE being late for things. Upon my arrival, the tech was actually waiting for me at the front desk to take me back to the radiation room. Kind of felt like a total jerk. However, the radiation techs at the London regional cancer clinic are probably the most fabulous people in the world. After walking down a rather long hallway, my tech showed me the change room and told me to sit in a nearby waiting room directly outside the radiation room until I was called in.

The first day of treatments is by far the longest and most tedious. The techs are required to measure and re-measure everything once you are lying on the "bed". As you can see, the actual machine used for the treatments looks quite a bit different that the one they use in the simulation. The techs are pretty proud of the machine that they were using, as it is the newest one in the hospital. State of the art :) That made me feel pretty darn good about it.

As you can see, it swiveled.

I literally spent about 7 hours of my life staring at this picture. No Joke.

After I had been pushed, tugged, moved and rolled into position with my right arm planted above my head, the two techs left. I didn't realized this until much later (when I overheard a doctor telling a resident) but the walls surrounding the treatment room are 6 feet of pure concrete.
Everytime the techs left the room, they would hit the little button pictured below, which lit up the signs beside it.

Once I was properly aligned on the table, the procedure was something like this-
1) machine swiveled down below my field of view on the right side followed by a loud buzzing noise for 30 seconds (yeah, I counted)
2) tech entered the room to ensure I was still aligned, while machine is swiveling to my left side
3) tech leaves and shortly thereafter, another buzzing sound lasting 30 seconds
4) tech comes back in again, checks alignment leaves, machines rotates to directly above me
5) loud 30 second buzz and techs come back in and tell me I'm all done.

I did this 5 days a week for 5 weeks.
By the end of it I was completely exhausted. Looking back, I feel this was mostly due to the fact that it took a solid 2.5 hours of driving everyday. Flat farmland for an hour each way. Flat. Pretty sweet. Haha. I shouldn't complain though. I know that there are many people that drive far further than I did everyday for their treatments :)

This may sound a little strange to some people, but when my treatment were finally over, I was actually a little sad. The techs had basically become friends. I saw them almost as much as I saw my family. We chatted about our lives, about the school course that I was taking at the time, about our respective plans on the weekends, birthdays, everything. On the last day, knowing I would probably never see them again was a pretty big bummer. I can't give them enough credit for how fabulous they were.

The end result of the radiation was not nearly as bad as I had assumed that I was going to be. Here are a few pictures of what my chest looked like after I was finished the radiation. I was very lucky, as I hardly had any reaction to the radiation at all.

That last one was taken by one of the techs during my last days.
The blue covers are were my right arm would sit during the course of the treatment.
As you can see, I was still lacking my hair at that point :)

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