June 25, 2018
Today was it. The first day of radiation. The first day of a major hurdle in my treatment.
I spent some time Saturday catching up with a friend from elementary and high school down at Pike Market before they had to go back to Minnesota. It turned out to be a nice day down there, and they taught me a trick for getting between the Market and the Waterfront that I didn’t know before, so that was cool. Afterward, I went on a mission to see if I could find soap that doesn’t have anything in it that will interfere with radiation. I found some Free & Clear shampoo at Target. They also carry it at Walgreen’s. I finally found some Cetaphil body wash that was unscented and didn’t contain any alcohol, oils or perfumes. It’s a little more expensive than regular body wash, but I only need it for about 8 weeks, so a couple bucks extra won’t kill me.
The gowns at the Partner Hospital where I’m getting radiation are awful. I mentioned this to the radiation techs last week and got a sympathetic murmur from each of them. Sure, you’re not flashing the world every time you walk down the hall.
The tech came and took me back to the treatment room and got me situated on the table. They pull up the plans on two big screens about 10 feet away that I can’t really see or read. I can hear the machine working to deliver the radiation beams to my body. When the plans were finished running, the tech came back and drew with a Sharpie on my chest again. The markings are so the doctors know where the field is on my body, and so that I know where to put the after-care creams/lotions.
There was one lady in the waiting room when I got there who was waiting for someone else. She wasn’t there long after I got changed and had made a couple of treks out to talk to the nurse. When I got done, there were two other ladies getting changed and ready for their treatments. One lady I talked to had uterine cancer, and part of her treatment required her to have a full bladder. I can’t imagine having to lie on that table for 20 minutes with a full bladder. That would be excruciating. She also told me that she’s fighting with lymphedema. They took 21 lymph nodes from her pelvis and so the lymphedema shows up sometimes in one leg and sometimes in both. Another reminder that there’s always someone who’s got bigger problems than you. Always.
I didn’t really feel any different until a few hours after getting home when I started feeling like my skin was burning a bit. I put some burn cream on it for now. It seems to have calmed down. I don’t know if that was a residual feeling from surgery, if it’s actually that my skin is already burning or it’s psychosomatic. In any event, I’m putting burn cream on it anyway to stay ahead of the curve. Thankfully, this stuff doesn’t smell bad.