Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Get Nuked

Greetings friends. I am into my proton therapy radiation and have 29 more to go! I think my last treatment is April 3rd.. It's amazing how much an end date helps. This roller coaster is going to stop eventually. Woo! So let's talk radiation..
This is how it goes down. I have treatment 5 days a week. So far the worst part of it all has been having to spend every day at the hospital. This is  not a fun existence and I cannot image how people do this on an even bigger scale than I do. Experiences like this fuel my desire to spend time  in hospitals supporting patients instead of being one. So thankfully there's a fancy schmancy waiting room with a cozy fire, unlimited snacks and drinks, and lots of comfy chairs and reading material. It has a very "homey" feel to it. I also get a cool name badge that swipes me in each day. My nurse come out to fetch me when it's time and I head back with her solo. I go to my locker and change into a gown (still waiting on a tie-dye one from Laurel Heath....), lock up my stuff, and then go to the bathroom. TMI? Maybe. But it's important when you consider how I'm about to be stuck somewhere for over an hour without moving a muscle! Then my nurse drops me off to my techs and we go into the radiation room. It's a big room with tons of fancy machinery all over the place. I don't know what even a fraction of it does. I swipe my ID again and hop up on a table. On the table is my body mold that holds me in place while I'm being radiated. I settle into the shape of the mold as best as I can and then they cover me in warm blankets. I'm in an awkward position, halfway on my right side, legs turned, and chin up. This allows for my left breast, left armpit, and neck nodes to all be exposed to the machine. The techs spend a lot of the time making sure that I am perfectly lined up with the lasers on the ceiling and marks in the mold. I just lie there like a limp noodle and they pull me around. Once I'm in place the machine moves over whatever area of me is being radiated that day, they pull the blankets down so my chest and neck are exposed and then the techs leave the room. They take X-rays to make sure I am in the right position and if everything is good they can start the radiation. Usually this is repeated a couple times during my treatment to target whatever area is being treated that day. It's a lot of work for them and me just trying to sleep through it all. I always come prepared with a playlist for the day and try to tune out all the machines buzzing and measuring talk the techs do so I can sleep. Most of the time I find myself in the half sleep that leaves you with a headache. The beauty of not working is I can go home and sleep afterwards. It's 2+ hours of commuting every day. I tried to break it up a little by joining the gym there, which is a first time for me. That way I can shoot for some movement after each treatment or avoid traffic. The hospital is really nice and everyone there is warm and welcoming. We celebrated my first week of treatment with little bouquets and treats for  my staff. Next week I am attending a new patient lunch. I really appreciate the community they try to build. They even have a graduation ceremony for you when you're all done. Oh, Honey Skinner.. the gift that keeps on giving.
So far I have just been really tried and fighting a headache for the past week or so. I have been giving yoga a go, swimming (the one thing I was strictly told not to do during radiation, ha), and searching for occasions to wear all the pretty dresses I have collected to. Peeps-if ya feel like getting snazzy, I'm down. This is the best weekly reward I can come up with so far. I'm very open to any and all suggestions on how to make treatment fly by and positively impact my surroundings while I'm there. I'm pretty stir crazy and find myself wanting sun, the ocean, and some of the faces I call home. Can we get a trip planned? PLEASE? In the meantime I am crafting, getting rid of things, and cuddling my puppy as much as she lets me.


  1. I'm glad you got to see a family face last night and today! xoxox

  2. I don't know you, nor do you know me, but the biggest key to overcoming anything in life is our attitude. From reading your blog you have one of the best, and happiest outlooks! You will overcome every obstacle and every challenge. 2014 is your year!!!! May God bless you above and beyond your dreams!