Those who have experienced the full treatment package for breast cancer say, that radiation is a walk in the park compared to chemotherapy. Into my 7th radiation procedure, I can say that it is true, thank God! No nausea, or affected tastebuds or severe fatigue. I just started feeling my affected left arm(left breast mastectomy) getting heavier, and have to put cream on my left chest when I get home to counter the slight burning effect of radiation. So far so good. The only downside is I have to go to the hospital everyday for 33 days! The procedure takes all of 10-15 minutes, but there’s the “First Come, First Served Policy” and if I came in late, I will have to wait for my turn for 1-2 hours. So I try to be there before 7 am.
Before the actual radiation procedure, I went in for what they call “Planning”. Actually, I think it is “marking” because the technicians mark the areas where they will zap me with radiation. The first planning day, I laid down under the CT Simulator for about 30 minutes, where they put temporary markings on my affected chest. A week after, I laid down under the Stereoscopic X-Ray machine for Verification. For permanent markings they prick the spots with a needle pretty much like they were tattooing. For Planning I, my head had to turn to the right for the whole of 30 minutes without moving. Then they told me, for Verification or Planning 2, I will do likewise for 1 1/2 hours so I better practice at home doing it. I was anxious about getting a stiff neck because I felt pain in my neck doing it for 30 minutes. How much more for 1 1/2 hours? But it never happened! It isn’t true that I will have to turn my neck to the right the whole time. The Planning took only 1 hour, 30 minutes, I laid still looking straight up, then to the right. I didn’t know why they have to scare me!
Just keeping my fingers crossed and praying that everything will go well and I will not experience the adverse side effects as I go on with the rest of my radiation treatment.