I like that term, “radiation therapy”. I like to think of it as “the treatment formerly known as a death ray machine”! It seems odd to me, this breast cancer treatment. It is so barbaric, to my mind – chemo so deadly that it must be calculated to your weight every week, followed by radiation given right up to (but hopefully not exceeding) the amount that will cause permanent breakdown of your skin.
Death Ray machine, not really the machine used on me! (photo from comicvine.com)
Sound nice? Well it’s not, but it is what we have at the moment, so it will just have to do. I continually read of cancer research that is “almost there”, or “promising”, but I tend to think that it will benefit the next generation, not mine. Sigh.
Anyhoo, I had my planning CT the other day, as my “therapy” is due to start next week. A lovely young man came out to the waiting room to fetch me, then took me into the CT room to disrobe.
So there’s me, putting on one of those lovely paper gowns, then dramatically pulling open the cubicle curtain. Tada!
“Nooooo”, he says, “you can’t wear a gown, your top half has to be bare.”
Well, I knew that, I just kinda thought I’d be allowed to walk across the room in that bloody gown, maintaining some sort of dignity! 🙂 But no, this is Spain, where the stereotypical Anglo Saxon sense of embarrassment is just not understood!
OK, I can do this. I walk with (imagined) dignity across to the table, with the nice young man looking on approvingly – at my compliance, no doubt, not on the state of my naked body! 🙂
I lay down on the (cold) table, and put my knees over the leg rest. Nice Young Man then puts my arms in a kind of stirrup-like arrangement, and tells me to grip the hand grips above them. He moves me around a bit until he’s happy with the position.
Are you comfortable?
he asks kindly.
This is the position you will be in for each treatment, so it’s important that you are comfortable.
Note to radiologists: if it’s important to be comfortable, design a comfortable table! I found the question hilarious, but the technician is too serious to share my joke.
He then marks my skin with a pen, and gives me 4 small dot tattoos. I guess this is to get the positioning of the machine correct, so the death rays can hit the target. I’d like to ask for tiny little dolphin tattoos, but I suggest that my serious chap won’t find that funny, so I remain schtum.
says Nice Young Man
I will now clean your breasts
OK then! Finally something nice. However, unlike the warm wash with a cloth that I had imagined, I receive a cold wipe with an antiseptic solution. Sigh.
Next up is the back-and-forth bit through the CT machine. I don’t like this part, as I don’t like small spaces, but if I close my eyes, it’s ok.
Roll on, “radiation therapy”, I’m ready for you!