Monday, September 10, 2018

Day 1 of Radiation

Today was day 1 of radiation.  1/30 done now.  I had 2 appointments leading up to day 1, both of which included lots of positioning, x-rays, and sharpie marks.  Today was the first day of actual radiation, though.

I arrived and went back to the radiation waiting room, and changed into my robe.  They provide hospital gowns, but I wanted to bring something pretty to wear since I'll be spending the next 6 weeks there.  The silk robe my friend Jennifer sent me from Thailand fit the bill nicely.

The radiation team is fantastic.  They're all really friendly.  They had me get comfortable on my mold on the radiation table (the one we made last week) and started with some xrays, which will be standard procedure to make sure I'm lined up correctly each time before beginning.  The appointment took about 30 minutes, with the radiation done in 4-5 zones with breath holds, 20-25 seconds each, needed for each one.  They're using both photon and electron radiation on me, though I'm not sure what that means.  I didn't feel anything besides some positional discomfort during the session, but had a bit of a surprise at the end.  I was told that for the first two weeks of the six, they would be adding a bolus to the sessions (every other day).  The bolus acts like skin and brings the radiation closer to the surface, which apparently is where I need it.  Unfortunately that changed the team's tune from "some people hardly burn" to "you'll burn."

There's nothing I can do to prevent burning, but I do need to take care of my skin as best I can.  Radiation dries it out, so I'll be applying cream twice a day until I burn.  Miaderm is my cream of choice, though I used Aquaphor tonight in a pinch.  Miaderm has a lotion/cream consistency, while Aquaphor is more of an oily ointment; I definitely prefer the Miaderm.  When I start burning, I'll add in some pure Aloe gel and Calendula cream in the middle of the day.  Oronine cream was also recommended, so I may use that at night.  I'll be showering every morning so that I have nothing on my skin when I arrive for my daily radiation.  I have a bunch of mens undershirts to wear 24/7 for the next 6 weeks to keep all of my creams and Sharpie lines from transferring to other things.

Since I have 30 radiation appointments to look forward to (29 now!), I did something fun - I bought 30 scratch-off lottery tickets.  I'll have something to look forward to at the end of the day besides burnt skin and incredible fatigue.

1/30 done!

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