The day had finally arrived - setup for my SBRT radiation. (The actual radiation is scheduled from July 25th to August 1st.) First, I met with the doctor, who allowed me to ask any questions, and then I signed the forms agreeing to the procedure. Then a nurse came in and started an IV. I gowned up, and she took me to yet another CT scanner.
I'll bet I'm in the 20ish range for CTs now. But who's counting?
I'd been sick a week ago and was unable to get out of bed from Saturday to Wednesday, so I had lost some weight - I was down to 94 pounds. When they took my weight I was pleased to see that I had gained a pound back, but not so pleased at this particular CT scanner. It was the first one I'd ever seen that wasn't padded. Ordered to lie down, my skinny arse and bones had to lie on bare wood.
Not for long. Soon, I was swarmed by radiation techs who seemingly came out of nowhere. They were shoving pillows full of foam beads all around me. I had to position myself on my back, hands holding these handles above my head while they push and pulled and smooshed the bean bags against me. They were packing me tight, tugging my clothes and underwear down, pulling my gown open, and taking my shoes off, pushing, pulling and patting until I was finally in the right position. Then they put this weight on my stomach which is to remind me not to take any deep breaths - shallow breaths from the top of my chest only. Then they put me in the CT machine and did a scan. They gave me contrast, and in and out I went, painful frozen shoulder growing numb, trying so hard not to take a deep breath that I almost passed out.
I realized I have gotten in the habit of taking a very deep breath every few minutes - probably due to chronic anemia, and only then did I realize what a powerful habit it was. So now I have to learn to breathe all over again.
After the scanning, they had me in the position they wanted that would enable them to best go after my tumor, and so they sucked the air out of the beanbags so it would hold the position, exactly like those space bags you get at Bed, Bath and Beyond. They took photos of me, my arms and my hands so they could recreate it. Then they put tattoos on me to mark whatever it is they are marking. These are not interesting tattoos at all, and really, if they are going to stick a needle into ink and jam it into your body, you should at least be allowed to have a little star or something. But no, you don't get designs, they don't use a tattoo gun, they just dip a needle in ink and slip it under your skin. The marks are tiny and black and they just look like blackheads, and I'm sure I'll be trying to scrub them off each time I see one..
My appointment for the 25th will either by a dry run or real radiation, depending on how they feel things go. In attendance at this party will be me, all of the techs I just met, as well as a Physicist, a Dosimetrist, my doctor, nurses, etc. So it is quite the team designed to keep me safe (and not one you want to stand up).
I feel better about doing this.
Cancer? Prepare to die.
The doctor and nurse have both told me that my main symptom will be fatigue. My only question to that is: how will I be able to tell?