Well, to be fair, I haven't actually barfed. I've wanted to barf. I've thought I might barf. I've felt as if I was going to barf. But no barf yet (knock wood with me, people). This is me thinking "wow, I feel pretty good today". But...
What I have had is wicked bouts of nausea. When they talk about nausea with chemotherapy, they mention that it should go away within 48 hours. Since my nausea didn't really start until 72 hours after chemo, I have to believe it is because of the radiation. I have two anti-emetics (Phenergen and Reglan) but they seem to work when they want to rather than when I need them to. I plan to chat with Dr F on Friday and see if there is anything else he can offer.
But I didn't intend for this post to be about barf. Or nausea. Or anti-emetics. I intended this post to be an in-depth look at
I arrive at the Center at 9:10. I sign in and slap on a name tag, then head to the changing room. Here I strip from the waist down (you can see my shorts hanging on the hook) and put on a lovely gown that ties in the back. Then I sit and wait. When they're ready, one of my team will come get me. I follow them back to the room with the big door. There is a computer monitor on the wall that I have to verify shows my name, and state my date of birth.
Then I lie down on the table. My legs go into the blue foam mold that was made what seems like a lifetime ago. I am covered up to my hips in a blanket, and have to expose my stomach so they can line up the tattooed dots. There are lasers that make a big cross - one line goes through the dots on my hips, the other line goes through the dots on my abdomen. If they have to move me, they pull the sheet I'm laying on, or they move around the leg mold. I don't do anything but lie still.
You might realize how hard it is for me to actually lie still. What makes it even more difficult is that they have a radio on, and often times there is a lively song that I would like to dance to. Today, it was Vogue by Madonna. Do you have any idea how many times I have heard that song in my lifetime that I did NOT do the Vogue dance from the video? I can tell you - exactly one. Today. It was torture to have to be still! But I can sing all I want, so at least that is some concession.
Once I'm in position and lying still, they rotate the x-ray accellerator so that it is below me. They leave the room. A red light comes on, and then the beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep that lasts for 25 seconds. Then they come in. Switch the plates, rotate the accellerator to the top of me, leave the room, red light comes on, beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep for 20 seconds. They come in, lower the table, remove the leg mold. I get up and leave.
This is my linear accellerator, with my blue leg-mold at the end. I am getting 15 mega-volt photons shot at me through plates that direct the x-ray beams through 9 different angles. I will have a total of 4500 centi-Gray units of absorbed radiation by the end of the 25 sessions of Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy. What does that all mean? Who knows - it is not my job to know, it is the job of Dr F and the rest of my team. I place my future in their hands daily, and trust that they will take care of me.
So that's about it. The only variation is that every Wednesday, after they've done the radiation treatment, they also take x-rays to make sure everything is still lined up the way it should be.
And to top it all off, I have a stitch. No, not that Stitch. An actual stitch. Sticking out. From when they put my port in. Wanna see? Click here...
For those of you keeping score, it's external 6, chemo 1
As always, thank you so very much for you continued support! I don't know how I'd make it through the hard times without knowing you are all out there rooting for me :) I hope to never have to repay the favor!