Radiation. My first appointment was yesterday and it was overwhelming to say the least. It was my “practice” appointment where I was on the table and the machine ran through all of the angles without actually emitting any radiation. And, I received new markings on my torso – these are larger and more intricate than the previous ones. Yay.
One bright point: One of the radiation specialists said I was the easiest appointment of the day. You’re welcome. I always strive to do my best.
Radiation therapy is strange. Today was my first “real” appointment. I donned my pink “open in the front” gown to signal to everyone that I was ready for some radiation. I was placed on the table in my custom-fitted pillow and then the machine moved around a bit (lasted about 5 minutes) and then I was done. I felt absolutely nothing. The machine did hum a bit and that was it. Did I really receive a radiation treatment?
The VERY nice radiation techs assured me that I did indeed receive my first treatment. Okay, if you say so.
There are many guidelines to follow when having radiation. Let me sum it up for you.
- I cannot shave my left armpit because I might cut myself. Yikes! I haven’t cut myself shaving my underarms since 7th grade, but okay. Seven weeks without shaving? Are they mad? Then, after my mini-tantrum, she did say that I could use an electric razor. Whew! The thought of having one underarm with hippie hair and one without any hair was starting to freak me out.
- I am not allowed to wear deodorant for the duration of my treatment. Yikes, again! Armpit with hippie hair and no deodorant? Sexy, right? Again, after a look of utter disbelief, she did say that if I had a desire to wear deodorant, I could buy one of the few kinds that were non-metallic. Yes, I do very much desire deodorant so I bought some of that super expensive, non-metallic stuff. I’m not really impressed with it, but what’s a girl to do?
- I am not allowed to wear underwire bras. Oh boy. Okay. Hmmm. Wow. She recommended that I buy some loose-fitting sports bras (which goes against the purpose of a sports bra) so I’m going shopping this weekend. Kohl’s here I come! Want to join me?
- I cannot use antibacterial soaps. I can only use pre-approved soaps like glycerine or Dove. Got it. This is an easy one.
- I cannot use any lotions unless they have been pre-approved. She gave me a sample of the kind that they recommend and told me the cheapest place to buy it. Fourteen dollars was the bargain price. No wonder healthcare in America costs so much. I’m supposed to use this lotion on the radiation area twice a day so the area stays supple and doesn’t dry out.
- I cannot use my special expensive deodorant nor my special expensive lotion the four hours prior to my radiation treatment. Oh my! It’s a good thing that my appointments are the first thing in the morning. However, this requires me to remember NOT to put on deodorant (I’m 48 years old. It’s habit.) and remember NOT to put on lotion. Because of this new morning routine, I have to carry my special deodorant in my purse. Greeeaaattt.
- I should not expose the radiation area to the sun. I can handle this one. That part of my body has NEVER seen the sun and I’m not about to start now.
- There are certain antioxidants that I’m not allowed to take. What are they are? I don’t know yet. I’ll find out on Thursday when I meet with my radiation oncologist.
- I am to avoid getting my lovely new artwork wet and I’m not allowed to scrub vigorously. I guess I will use my own judgment on what is too vigorous. However, avoiding wetting down my new marks will be almost impossible because there are a lot. How do they expect me not to get them wet? A spit bath is completely out of the question. I don’t think they are very effective anyway. These new marks climb up my upper chest a bit – you can see them when I wear most of my t-shirts and summer shirts. How do I explain these lovely black marks? I really wish it was winter right now.
Once I read my Radiation Therapy and You book, I will share with you the possible side effects of radiation. You’ll have to check out my next post to find out what they are. I know you will be holding your breath. I am.