Well, I have had four treatments so far and I have to say it isn't really what I expected it to be. The final prep appointment was annoyingly uncomfortable. As I was laying there on my custom made mold, with my right arm above my head and my left arm pasted to my side a terrible thing occurred. One of the lasers was hitting me directly in the left eye. Don't panic! It wasn't that kind of laser. It was a light beam for measuring. Anyway, this bright green light caused a small tear to form in my eye. I willed it not to leak out. I even snuck in a silly prayer that it would stay in place. But it kept growing until it could no longer fit in the corner of my eye and it began a slow trickle down the side of my face. Normally this wouldn't be that big of a deal, right? I would just reach up and wipe it away and be done with it. Today however, I am to lay completely still while they take images, scans, and measurements of the area to be radiated. At first, I wasn't too worried. I figured it would fall and that would be it. What I failed to realize was that there was a light breeze blowing through the room. It was causing my poor salty drop to itch as it tried to make its' way. I determined to not think about it. I would think about something else like the cramp forming in my leg muscles. OH GREAT! That wasn't helpful. I realized I was starting to twitch. Concentrate! I thought. I just need to concentrate. I can do this. Wait! Shoot. Is that another one? A second drop was beginning to follow. I am not going to make it. Relax. If I can just relax... okay that's not working either and now there are two itchy drops. The twitching was getting worse. They are going to notice I need to just ask permission to ITCH! I know this may seem silly, but I was so uncomfortable after an hour of not moving. My muscles were cramped up and I had to have help getting up and off the table. Nice!
The radiation process is not much more than laying completely still, in a very specific position while they turn on the big guns and fire em. I don't feel anything from the radiation itself. I can hear the different tones and see the machine rotating around me, but that's about it. I will also say that the radiation chamber is a place were the term modesty is fond memory. To compensate, they provide nice toasty warm blankets to cover all the already covered parts. The techs are great though and I am quickly getting accustomed to walking in and rippin of my shirt to get er done.
Another thing I am learning is how ridiculously mathematical this whole process is. It made my little bean counting heart very happy when they started talking about central axis, peripheral diameters and so many other different numerical measurements. I almost forgot it was because they wanted to get the exact angles and measurements before they shot me with very specifically measured amounts of radiation. It is a very precise science that I am so thankful for. I have met not only the techs who set me up each day for exact depth, angle and locations, I have also met the physicist who determines my radiation and measures it with diodes to make sure it is accurate and the dosimeter (not sure I am completely accurate on that word, he said it so quickly) who calculates the exact details of my whole plan. And then of course there is my radiologist who came up with the plan in the first place. All of these people have been great, but I will tell you that the physicist and the radiologist are too smart and serious for their own good. They don't get my CFP jokes. I layed there on Monday while they were adjusting and measuring and re aligning. It seemed so serious and intense. What better time for a good ol wise crack. I asked "So, are ya ready to nuke me?" and the answer came back in a very serious tone, "This is a very precise and specifically targeted treatment." Well duh! Like I would voluntarily lie here if you were just gonna willy nilly aim that big gun and FIRE it at me!!! Poor man. I am gonna have to work on him a bit more I can see.
Today as I sat in the radiation waiting area, I noticed a small bowl of glass marbles. I had seen them before, but hadn't sat there long enough to read the sign beside it and see the small gauze bags. The sign said to take as many marbles as you had days of treatment and then each day put one back to count down. I happen to be the person that not only loves to do lists, I am the person that will write in the item I just did if it wasn't on the list just so I could cross it off. Yes, I am one of them. You might be able to relate. I am also the person who loves count downs so as you can imagine the idea of decreasing my bag of marbles as I knock another one off was very appealing. So today, I collected 31 marbles. Tomorrow I get to put one back and that will feel good.
PS - My oncologist called me herself with the results from the echo I had on Monday. Ejection valve output is back up to 55%. Let the infusions resume. Thank you Lord!
Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens! May your glory shine over all the earth.