Radiation Treatments Begin!

This will be my home away from home for the next month.  Every day at 3:00 I will report here for my radiation treatments.  I’ll walk right in, past the receptionists and to a room in the back, where I’ll change into a lovely hospital gown like these to wait my turn.

Then I’ll go back into the radiation room where the technicians, Steve and Ginny will situate me under this big machine.  Last week I had 3 different appointments with the technicians to prepare me for today, my first radiation.  They’ve marked my breast with permanent pen markings and have taken MRI readings to calibrate exactly where they need to radiate.  Everything is very precise.  This is an art and they are very good at it.

There are laser beams that shine from different angles in the room and point to the exact area that needs to be radiated.  I lie on this table/bed and the machine moves over me, from one side to the other, shooting the beams of radiation, like an x-ray, through my breast.  Each zap only lasts a few seconds.

Here’s how the beams go through the breast, from above, then from below.  They are very careful not to expose your lungs or any vital organs.  I felt nothing, but had to hold very still.  When they finish, I dress again and head home.

They are telling me that there can be some uncomfortable side effects from radiation.  For some, the skin burns like a bad sunburn, with 2nd or 3rd degree burns.  I tolerate the sun well, so I’m hoping my skin will hold up.  I’m scheduled to come for 4 weeks, 5 days/week.  I’m learning so much about how this all works and what a blessing it is to have this treatment.  They tell me radiation reduces the chances of re-occuring cancer in the same place from 25% to 5%.  I’m good with that and grateful this process will kill any cancer cells that may have escaped the knife 2 weeks ago!

Honestly, I am feeling SO GRATEFUL.  I’ve had the best ever care and now I have some new friends here who will help me every day.

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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