Been real anxious for a few days as today was my first true visit for treatment to the radiation dungeon! YIKES!!!! They forewarned me it was going to be a long day as not only do I meet with the Doc and we discuss any final changes, they needed to make any last minute adjustment to the "mask." I must admit it was not nearly as bad as I was led to believe and I posted last time. In fact the mask was not enclosed as I was led to believe and when I tried in on again and became aware of some spots that were uncomfortably tight, they simply cut them out. The final product is one I can see and breath perfectly well out of as well as speak to a certain degree yet keeps me immobile and has a number of markings on it that they use to align with the lasers. This in turn will ensure the points of treatment that have been programed out in the computer and are administered by the beast of a radiation machine go where there supposed too- ALLEGEDLY. Still seems as if there is quite a margin for error and this is by no means an exact science.
After about 90 minutes of this, I am told it is time! No more rehearsal, this is live radiate time and to say I'm not anxious would be a lie! I am asked my choice of a few CD's they have on hand and then am reattached if you will to the board as the mask is locked down over me and the techs leave the building. (Not really, they are very good about showing you where all the cameras are and that they are monitoring all of them so a quick wave of the hand will stop the treatment and bring one of them in immediately.) Regardless, when they fire up the Beast and it starts to rotate around you, it is a quite unnerving. The Beast consits of a large unit palced in the center of the room with a backboard and about a 3 foot diameter circular devise on an large metalic arm above your head that rotates around and under you positioning itself accordingly to administer its little rays. I am assured this is one of the most technologically advanced in the country and I have actually read and researched that very fact. It;s up there apparently so we hope it came with good training as well. In any case it is a far cry from the general area radiation they did jsut a few years back and that is good. I have been told my particular treatment has been broken out into 13 segments allowing for specified treatment areas to be irradiated causing less tissue damage to the surrounding unaffected areas as much as possible-or at least that is the idea.
Let's begin-There are numerous sounds as the Beast is aligning itself with the pre-programmed map created by my Docotor and the physics guys and then silence..............followed by a rather high pitched humming noise that is drowning out a good tune I'm trying to focus on. That, I realize, is the sound of the actual radiation dose being administered. It stops as abruptly as it stops, the beast rotates a bit counterclockwise to it's next programmed point and the process repeats....all the way over the top of me and around....13 times. Pau!
Actually at this point, very harmless. Nothing to see, nothing to feel during the actualy treatment except for the noises and watching the beast make its way over you during this 10-12 minute period and that's it. At one point I thought I saw a white flashing out of the corner of my eye, but the tech tells me there was no such flash. Apparently, depending on how much radiation is administered to a certain nerve, people claim, to have seen my flashes, rainbows or heatwaves but there is no such lighting ever emitted from the machine. Odd...one of many oddities I'm sure to be experiencing over the remaining 37 visits to the dungeon! We'll just have to see when I actually start to glow.
Not sure if it was adrenalin or anxiety or if I truly did feel rather lightheaded and woozy after the procedure, only time will tell. It is now a few hours after the fact and those feelings are gone. I am tired however and tomorrow I get a double dose as not only now have this now daily treatment, I am to receive my first dose of the Carboplatin chemotherapy administerd weekly to augment the radiation so off to sleep I go.
Good Night all.