Radiation (Treatment 3)

A time for decisions

I wasn't quite sure if I wanted to have radiation, I thought the risks were a little high. After having a second opinion at Hershey Medical Center, I decided to go with a low-dose treatment.

"...is this your first time?"

I soon found out my radiation therapy department was one full of hugs. On my first day I watched a video on radiation treatment, and had all the side effects and such explained to me. I choose to go with the lowest possible effective dose of radiation, in something known as an involved-field. I would have a total of 2100 rads over 14 days.

I had radiation on weekdays, so 14 days was one day less than three weeks. Before I started my treatments, a lead block/shield was formed for my specific treatment area. I had a few red lines drawn on me, and even got three small black tattoos -- in case my lines washed off too much for alignment (and for future reference).

I didn't suffer from nausea, but my appetite decreased a bit. My treatment area got a little red, but it didn't hurt. I had ice water immediately before and after my treatment to protect my throat from getting too sore.

Radiation treatments were a breeze for me. Here's how mine went:

  • check in.
  • after being called back to waiting area, drink some ice water and wait a few minutes.
  • once in treatment room, take off shirt and lie on table, then be aligned.
  • treatment from front, short break to switch the machine's position, treatment from back. (treatment last a few seconds)
  • get off table, put on shirt, drink ice water.
  • maybe give and get a hug or two, then LEAVE!

I had a blood test once a week, and a chest x-ray around the same frequency. Each week I also met with a radiation oncologist. My first chest x-ray showed I had a normal chest, and I thought I was cured. (Unfortuntely, I was wrong...)

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