Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Radiation Done!

The 17 daily radiation treatments are over - and in this season of Thanksgiving, I am. Depending on who you ask, for all practical purposes, I'm cured.

Compared to chemo, the radiation treatments were quite anti-climatic. With each of the eight bi-monthly chemo treatments I got get four hours of people feeling sorry and being nice to me. With chemo it's two quick, 10-second zaps after 15-minutes of waiting for my turn on the machine.

The biggest difference between chemo & radiation is the setup before the first treatment. With chemo there's no setup. With radiation it seemed like a month of setup as I had to meet with a radiation oncologist. Then I had to get measured and fitted to a Styrofoam form to hold me still while being radiated. Then I had to go through a trial zapping. It just seemed to go on and on before my first actual radiation.

I've posted a stock web photo of what the machine looks like. The technicians position the machine above you using lasers lining up to little tattoo dots they put on your chest and then zap you from above. The whole machine then rotates around and then you get zapped from below. All the while you're lying on a Styrofoam form on a table.

The worse part of the treatment is the skin area that gets radiated (for me it was the upper left quadrant of my chest & back) gets pretty crusty for about two or three weeks after the treatment is over. (Kind of like a party favor!)

The people at the radiation treatment center were very nice though from the technicians, to the nurse and my radiation oncologist, Dr. Washington. They gave me a nice completion certificate after my last treatment.

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