Radiation is gentle at first, but the steroids will make you want to murder someone while eating something and then cry about it and feel nauseous after all the eating.
I started external beam radiation (IMRT) yesterday and had my second treatment today. I was supposed to start Tuesday but they called me on my way there and cancelled the appointment because the machine was broken.
Previously, I had a mold of my face made that holds me down into place. It clips onto the sides of the bed of the machine. Yesterday they positioned me, locked me in and said, “Try not to move.” They might as well have said try to move. Your head is locked in pretty good. There are weird changes while laying there, though. My cheeks puff out a little somehow while I am laying there and the mask gets a little tighter there for about 5 seconds, then loosens back up. I guess it is blood flow.
Once they left the room, the whole process took about 2 and a half songs 80's songs. Most of it was positioning the machine, I think. There are two periods where there is a buzzing sound and a white flashing light. I’m assuming this is when the radiation is happening. Either that or they have frequent dance breaks in there.
Today it was shorter, and they said it would be that way from now on. It was 1 and a half country songs. I will be going now five days a week for the next six weeks. It usually takes about two weeks for the effects to build up before you start feeling anything. It will most likely be fatigue, but could be nausea, which I have enough of thanks to the heavy hitter steroid - decadron. I have to take these because radiation in this area tends to swell the brain and the steroid helps reduce that. I guess it’s worth it, then. My back is starting to resemble that of a teenage boy’s now with all of the bumps that have popped up.
I did face an unexpected conundrum today. There was someone else in the back waiting room with me. I had to really think about whether or not to open my mouth other than for the, “Hello.” If I started talking, I might be obligated to get to know this person and talk every time and be radiation buddies with them. But I talked. So we’ll see how it goes. She went in before me, and then someone else came in the back waiting room. By this point my head had started hurting and I just kept my head in my hands and only said hello.
I have an appointment with my supervisor at work tomorrow and I have asked that she add to the agenda a “frank discussion on the benefits of my work to the department.” I’ve been working one to two days a week lately and I’m about done.