Bring on those rays

After having healed from my implant/expander surgery I was ready for the next phase in my treatment. Radiation.

Before you can get started, there is a process that needs to be followed to make sure that the radiation machine is entirely programmed for you, your body and to ensure the radiation goes to specifically measured areas in your body.

You start with a pre-appointment or simulation, that, in my case, lasted about two hours. During this appointment, you will be put in one of the radiation machines and the technicians will measure every inch of your body and your position. Once they feel you are in the right position, they will strap or tape you to the machine and then create a mold of your body in the exact position. This mold will be used every day of your treatment to hold your position.

They will also mark your body with specific markers. Some people actually get tiny dots tattooed on their body. In my case, they drew a little line and then they put a clear transparent band aid over it to make sure the line wouldn’t erase if I were to take a shower.

They took lots of pictures, from every possible angle so they can pre-program the machine for each of my radiation treatments.

My first radiation treatment was on April 30, 2018. I had scheduled my sessions in the late afternoon. I would work the large part of the day and would leave mid-afternoon to go to the hospital.

I was called in pretty quickly and changed into a gown. I was given a locker to put all my stuff away. You can take anything into the radiation room or vault (that’s what the technicians called it).

In the vault, I had to remove my gown and climb onto the table. The upper portion of the table had the mold we made during the simulation and I would get into the right position.

The technicians would then align the machine according to the markers on my body.

Once they were sure everything was properly aligned, they would put a silicon sheet about ¼ inch thick over my breast. This was to reduce some of the skin reaction from the radiation.

Then came the tape, lots of tape, to make sure I stayed in the right position and the make sure the silicon sheet would remain in place.

The technicians would leave the room to check the machine from their control room and if everything was in order, they would begin.

The session itself would last about 25 minutes or so. The wonderful technicians would put on my favorite music, so I would have something to listen to while the machine did its work.

I would have a total of 25 sessions. One session a day for 5 weeks. I ended up getting to know the technicians pretty well. After a few days, they knew my musical preferences and we kind of got into a rhythm of things.

They created a beautiful signed card for me at the end of my treatment and I got to ring the bell!

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