Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Radiation Sim Part 1

Or was it Radiation Stimulation? Just a "t" separates the two words. :-) I could have used a glass of whine instead of tea today.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I did have some anti-anxiety meds in me which helped to lower the high level. It is the fear of the unknown that gets me . . .nervousness that can get blown into anxiety. I've learned that knowledge can keep the feeling/thought level at nervousness and not escalate to anxiety. I didn't have all my questions answered before I went in today.

I was informed that today was Part 1. Hmmmmmm. Don't recall that being mentioned last Friday. After changing into a gown, Radiation Therapist Sandy led me back to the CAT scan room. Here's what I saw.

After laying down on the table, Sandy had me place my hands in the "stirrups". She adjusted me on the table for about 10 minutes, getting me just right for the scan. After that, Sandy marked the ends of the lumpectomy scar and very respectfully covered my bare chest with a towel before calling for the doctor. I am very interested in finding out how much the doc's bill will be for this: he put dashes around my breast and chest, talked to Sandy for a few seconds and left.

Then the CAT Scan began and lasted no more than 10 minutes in the big donut. My total time on the table was about 25 minutes, which was okay.

I had 3 tattoos, one in the cleavage area and one on each side in the armpit area. For rads, they will align my body with two beams pointed at the sides so I'm not "listing" .. . . did Sandy compare me to a boat? Maybe it was a yacht. I'm not sure how the tattoo was actually done, but I think she put the ink on my skin and then poked me with something. The one in the cleavage was slightly uncomfortable, but very short in duration. I felt nothing in one armpit while the other was a little more uncomfortable.

Part II of this stimulating experience is next Friday, Jan 9th. I was informed that this one would take a bit longer. The radiation oncologist and the medical physicist, or dosimetrist, will work to find the best way to aim the radiation, including using a computer.

Actual radiation will start Monday, January 12th. I will have to confirm this with the doctor, but Sandy said 16 sessions. So maybe I did qualify for the 3 week Canadian study! I will go Monday-Friday on my lunch hour for the radiation. Might be tiring, but I believe I can still go lay down once in a while at work.

It's been 4 weeks since my last chemo and my skin and nails are still taking a beating. A 3" circle on my right hand and 1" spot on the web of my left hand are losing layers of skin. The itching and cracking is getting to be too much. I've used some ointment that my dermatologist prescribed a few months ago for something similar - but no where near the severity as now - but the ointment is not working. I've kept Bag Balm on the spots as well. Guess it will be yet another doctor visit.

Here's a pic of my nails. The red lines are on the same two fingers on each hand. Weird. The nails hurt and if I lift anything with these fingers, the pads hurt. I am hoping that the nails do not lift.

After what we've gone through this year, I wish I could say that 2009 was going to be a drama-free and health-free year. We will wish for this in 2010 for sure! I DO hope you all have a peaceful night tonight and take the time to reflect on the good things of 2008. I know Vic and I will be doing this!

Hugs to my family, friends and sister survivors,



  1. Oh Renee! I am so jealous of the magic number 16! I hope that I can have it too!
    Hoping for a cancer-free 2009

  2. Thank you Sue! I am hoping that your chemos speed by, with minimal SEs, and that you DO get to have the 3-week rads.


  3. Those nails look painful! I hope you get to someone who can look at them and your painful patch. It's not like you need more discomfort!

    I've been thinking of you often in the challenging weather we've been having, and hoping that you are doing OK.

    I'm really looking forward to 2009. It has just GOT to be an improvement! <3

  4. Hi Renee,
    Just want to pop in and say I appreciate your blog and being able to know what you are contending with. I am praying for you and your family. You have educated me a lot on this journey. Your Hoover high classmate,