I am currently rat-wheeled into my radiation regime, 25 sessions in all. There is no pain during the procedure.There is the usual discomfort of disrobing when everyone else is clothed. I’m not however, advocating that we all ‘get natural’. It is just yet another humiliation along this road to recovery, that defines you as a patient, before all else.
The radiation technicians are focused and kind, and I bless all of those that resonate to the rhythm of numerical intelligence. Radiation treatment, is mainly a mathematical calculation. Prior to radiation, three small tattoos in the form of blue dots were inked, on either side of my breast and one in the middle.
The radiation process involves aligning the beam within the parameters of these tattooed markers. The objective is to maximise coverage of the rays, to the targeted site and spare vital organs that don’t need to be radiated. This is not fail proof and some portion of heart and/ or lungs are hit, though measures are taken to do the least damage possible. Reassured yet?
The room is large, white and cold. A steel metal bench, with padded arm cuffs and moulded leg support awaits. Unlike an MRI donut, you are not encased. The beam rotates around you, in sync with the computer program and in small precise movements it delivers, the dose of radiation, like an award winning technique of colouring in. It is over quickly after four separate firing adjustments, that is until tomorrow.
My stamina which was shattered by my recent chemotherapy regime, was slowly being restored through regular exercise, solid nutrition and adequate rest. Three months later, post chemo, after only 5 radiation sessions I have an increased aching under my arm and tiredness has again begun to haunt me. I no longer resist the reality that it will take at least 7 weeks post radiation to recover base line stamina, and chase fatigue from my shadow.