Friday, January 9, 2009


Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin' me late
Is keepin' me waitin'

Dontcha hate it when someone tells you not to move and breathe normally, that's when your nose itches and you want to take big gulps of air to calm yourself?

The 2nd part of the simulation was a piece of cake! I was escorted to the treatment room by a pretty darn cute young man (sorry Vic) and met 2 other Radiation Technologists. All three were very nice and respectful of covering the breast when they weren't marking the skin.

They moved me around a bit on the little table to get the laser beams lined up with my tattoos, then left to take an x-ray. They came back into the room, did some more measuring and moving my body around . . a few more “pictures” and it was repeated a 3rd time. And I was done! Total time was about 20 minutes on the table. The only discomfort was afterwards - to my shoulder that has an old rotator cuff injury.

I found out that I will have two “hits” of radiation in different areas. I asked about it as I want to know if the beams are hitting my lungs or ribs. They will draw a circle around the area on Monday – the Tech made it look like a large area, but maybe she was just gesturing. I do need to find out if they are zapping the lymph node area in the arm pit. They shouldn’t since no cancer was found there. I still need to to find out if I am doing the 3-week Canadian protocol which I think is at a higher dose.

Some of the side effects of radiation include swelling of the breast – and this usually goes away a few months after treatment ends. The skin can become darker and sunburned in the area being radiated. I’ll need to get some aloe vera gel and start using it right away. Thank goodness I kept the post-surgical cotton, no wire, zipper-front bras!

Two main side effects that won’t be seen until years down the road are rib fractures and a cough (radiation pneumonitis). The occurrence is less than 1% for the rib fracture given the new radiation equipment. It’s not something I’ll worry about now, but do want the info for my files. Radiotherapy can damage the heart if the left side is being radiated. I am fortunate that my right side is being zapped.

I just found out that my oncologist is leaving Seattle and returning to Florida. I’m not happy with this. It’s so important to develop a good trust relationship with the oncologist and I have that now. Guess I’ll have to research who else from Virginia Mason Hospital sees patients at the Federal Way satellite office.

Update on Vic:
He has an appointment to meet with the surgeon on February 27th to discuss his Schwannoma tumor. Vic says he is doing okay on the “discomfort” from the tumor. It will be nice to have this behind us.

Hope you all have a great weekend!


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