Radiation Dress Rehearsal

Today was dress rehearsal for radiation.  A week ago, I did mapping. The rad onc does scans and figures out how my body is configured. The goal is to get ALL the chest wall, all the clavicle lymph nodes, all the breast skin and places one cancer cell could hide. The goal is to get the LEAST amount of lung and NO heart. So they scan your body and look at angles. The rad onc people retire to the nerdery and figure out exactly how to configure the machine and my body for maximum… whatever. Maximum cancer killing with minimum me-killing.

 

At the mapping, they tattoo you. They put six dots so that you are lined up exactly right every time. Dress rehearsal is where they make extra sure you are all lined up. They put you into your super uncomfortable bench with your arms up in a Y (YMCA!), and they take x rays. There are green lasers to align or … something. There were green lights across my body while the machine rotates around me and takes x-rays to make sure that we have all the bad stuff in the radiation field and none of the good stuff. They make me breathe and hold it so that my heart retracts. “Inhale. Hold. Exhale.”

 

It was mostly uncomfortable. I don’t have full range of motion, especially to sit in that position for 15-20 minutes. Directly above me in the ceiling is a hole the shape of a cross. It’s something to do with the green lasers and the alignment and the dots.

 

Yesterday, I got a rosary of St. Peregrine, patron saint of cancer patients (and also a FALCON!!!). During my dry run, I focused on the cross, and relaxing, and breathing. My first show is a matinee tomorrow. Radiation Rampage is my working title, and it’s going to be awesome.

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