Happy New Year dear friends and family!
What better way to ring in a new year than with a healthy dose of radiation. Today was the start of the next stage of my breast cancer treatment.
I receive radiation therapy at the Cancer Centre at TOH – General Campus. On arrival, I undress from the waist up, put on a hospital gown and scan my little bar-coded card to check in. When the radiation therapists are ready for me, I am brought in to a room and placed on the table to be positioned to receive the treatment. There are laser beams crisscrossing the room that are used to align with the tattoos I received in December and x-rays are taken, all of which is to ensure that the radiation is delivered only to the affected breast according to the exact treatment plan and specifications developed by my radiation oncologist.
The radiation therapists leave the room and if the measurements check out, radiation is administered. I don’t feel, smell or taste anything during radiation. Like chemotherapy, each person reacts differently, however the most common side effects when receiving radiation for breast cancer are fatigue, breast heaviness and skin burns. Typically side effects don’t appear until a week or two after treatment has started.
Each week I will receive that week’s schedule and I am not guaranteed any particular time slot – This week my treatment times range from 0800 to 1330. I also meet with my radiation oncologist every Wednesday to discuss progress and any side effects. I was told that radiation emergencies may arise which could impact my schedule. Radiation emergency? Really? Apparently that’s a thing.
It took 4 hours from door-to-door, but the actual administration of radiation lasted only 5-ish minutes.
So this is my new normal for the next six weeks.