Last week began the "planning" phase of my radiation treatments. I guess this is good. Not like I want them nuking unnecessary parts. I have to say it is an interesting process. You have probably heard about the tattoos? This is that part. I went in Friday to talk with my radiology Dr. and he re confirmed the plan. 7 weeks, 35 days, every weekday.
In order to make sure they are hitting the same spot every time they do a few things. First order of business... to make a body mold. I realize this sounds a bit intriguing and maybe oddly fun, but I assure you it is not that exciting. They have you lay down on a rock hard bean bag that has had all of the air sucked out. They position your body the way they want it for during the actual radiation and then they pump the bag full of air. This loosens up all the beans and allows them to continue to form it around you. So with my hand on my head and arm resting to the side they push and shove the form until it looks like what they want. Then they suck all the air back out and it begins to tightly form around you. "OOPS! We forgot that we are doing your lymph nodes too. I need you to turn your head to the left. Sorry. I can't fill it back up and let your head shape form because then I would have to do it all over again." Oh dang it. So I get to lay there with a bump in the side of my head every time I go in. Oh well. It's just a little uncomfortable. I can live with it. After all it's not like they are pumping me full of toxins or anything crazy like that.
After the body forming portion of the appointment, we come to the mapping session. This involves red permanent markers, wires with tape on them, and small lead bb's being placed in strange and unmentionable places. By the time I was done, I looked like the night sky in late summer. I had at least the Big Dipper happening and after they tattooed the two dots on, I think one could argue Cassiopeia could be seen. Yes, I now can say I have my first and second tattoos. Not fun or daring. Not permanently displaying a symbol of hope, rebellion, or even religion, but tiny little permanent reminders. Reminders for the radiation techs to pay attention and keep the red beam on the little black dots so I don't loose anything else. With all of my red markings, my special bbs and the wiring along the scar lines I am ready for my photo shoot. Yes, I did say photo shoot. And yes, with a camera. Ugh. Really? More pictures of my sisters? To my real sisters, I only wish it was with you all. Clearly I made it through all of the run way blitz. Then they ran me through the scanner with all my hardware in place. I tell you what... this is gonna be some kind of plan.
I have another planning appointment this Friday. I guess they wanna get it right when they are lightin you up. They said it was another longer appointment. Then the real fun begins. Actually, I have heard from multiple sources the actual treatments themselves aren't bad at all.
Monday will be a busy day. I will have my first treatment of radiation and my echo cardio gram to check on my heart. I have been faithfully walking and trying to strengthen it back up. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little worried about it. My radiologist has the same issue with his heart and it meant no more running. Okay. I guess if that is the worst of it, I will adjust, but I really don't like how it feels. I can actually feel the difference, especially at certain times like during running or if I get too hot. Nor do I like the idea of being 41 with heart issues as well as already having had cancer once. Since neither of these things are issues I can control, I will do my best to let them go. I was describing how I envision entertaining the what if's to my friend the other night. I see it as trying to tie a boat anchor around my neck and call it jewelry. No one does that. It's not helpful, it wouldn't look good, it's not useful and everyone knows it would work better as a belt, Right?!? No. But seriously. It's just the next step in the plan. And check it out! I have HAIR!
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.