The first step in Radiation is the simulation. This is where they take the take pictures and make temporary marks on my chest until a radiation plan can be made.
I went into my appointment at noon. I met with the nurse and she explain to me my skin regiment. I am to use a special lotion 2 times a day, and then at bedtime I have a prescription for a steroid that I combine with some Auquaphor and put it all over my left breast and underarm. After letting me know what kind of lotions and deodorants I can use I signed a consent form for the radiations procedures.
Next I was brought into large room with a CT machine. I was asked to remove my shirt, bra and jewelry and put on a rose colored robe (opens in the front). I came out of the changing area and Erin (the tech) and asked me to lay down on the table in front of the CT machine. She took my left arm and placed it in a form of stirrup above my head. This is for 2 reasons:
- My arms needs to be up so that the radiation can hit my arm pit, where my axillary lymph nodes were.
- The stirrup is placed in the same position every treatment, so that the radiation can be precised every time.
Once my arm is in place and the table is propped up just a bit (this position lowers my lungs and heart more towards my back so they won't get hit with as much radiation) and my feet were strapped together (to be more comfortable for me), I was brought thought the CT scan a number of times, to get the pictures for Dr. S to make her plan for my radiation. At the same time, x-rays were done as well so that they could make a 3D image of my body to make the radiation plan.
It sounds like a simple procedure and for what I have been through, it was. But I was in the chair for about 20 - 30 minutes and my arm was up that long. Oh my goodness, it burnned! I kept thinking during the whole procedure, "this is just like a challenge on the TV show Survivor!"
After Erin was finished, she pulled my body out of the machine and took a black sharpie marker and started making black "X"s on my body. I asked how she knew where to put them. She said that there were red laser lights coming off the walls and ceiling and they make the "X" on my body that she drawers. She explained that these "X"s needed to stay on until my "Verification" appointment (where I get my tattoos). She covered them with a kind of cellophane tape so they would last 2-3 weeks.
I now have 6 "X"s on my body:
- Above my left breast beside my left arm
- On my left aureole, about the 10 o'clock position
- On the outside of my left breast
- On my left side at the bottom of my rib
- In the center of my body, about where my diaphragm is
- On my right side at the bottom of my rib.
My next appointment will be in about 2-3 weeks, this will be my "Verification" appointment, where Dr. S will see if her theoretic plan matches my actual body. Once I am lined up, I will get my tattoos.
This is so humorous, I always said I got my navel pierced so I wouldn't need to get tattoos. Now not only do I get them, they are going to be blue freckles!! Not even something cool. I will be a human "connect the dots".