Monday at 2 I walked into Roger Maris and stopped at the reception desk.
How did this work again?
Do I check in?
Or go back?
How the heck could I have forgotten so soon?
I'm told to go back and sit in the radiation waiting room.
I'm greeted as soon as I enter the door. The faces are all so familiar and yet I still struggle with names.
I'm given a gown to put on and then told to sit in the inner waiting room right outside the treatment room.
Within in minutes I am ushered back.
There is my formed "bean bag" pillow (photo below). Weeks back it was formed around me when it was warm and loose and I was sedated having come from the mri scanner.
So with some help I'm ushered up and over the sides of the forms to lay on my back. I notice instantly a bump protruding from the molded head form and down into my shoulder.
And then the final instructions are uttered.
"Now reach back with your arms over your head and grab the white handles."
As I flounder for a position of comfort and they work to line my tatoos up with the machine... they then utter, "okay just 30 minutes or so, lie perfectly still and then you'll be done.
And off the techs go.
Its merely 20 seconds after they've left and the bump is now pressing into my neck and back causing a burning pain.
The table jostles me into position. The machine comes to life and begins to move all around me. Its a little like when r2d2 comes to life in the movie Star Wars.
The arms move around me. Some come close to my face, click, click, then a beam is shot for a few seconds. Then the big screen lowers and hovers in front again. Then at some point the whole table goes sideways in a sweeping arc, while the other pieces move around me.
And all I want to do is move my arms. They are both numbing and feeling like pins and needles are piercing them. About half way through the techs come back. I ask if I can move my arms and tell them about the spot pressing into my back.
They act instantly and allow me to move my arms. But we will have to wait till we are done this first time to find the bump and try to soften it somehow.
At least I know its only 15 minutes and I can endure.
When the 15 minutes are up I instantly hear them tell me I can move my arms, but not to sit up yet.
They come and raise my shoulder and instantly see the reddened spot on my shoulder. We figure out its from the crease between the blue hardened form for my head, the darker blue form for my body.
On Tuesday they use blankets and cloths to fill in the area and I am so grateful. While its still somewhat uncomfortable to lie with my hands behind my head, nothing presses into my shoulder any longer and that is immensely better.
Wednesday night. The node under my arm is tender. It zings pain throughout my shoulder and down my arm. I try advil, warm baths, and massage. It seems I can't buy relief this night.
So I turn to a small left over supply of Oxy. I finally sink onto my lumpy bed and too exhausted to care what pokes me from the mattress, I drift into a fitful sleep.
Thursday morning, the tech makes note right away that I am not my usual perky self. I lift my arm to show her and she instantly notices, "oh its swelling, I see it."
She makes note of it for the nurse. As I am dressing the nurse comes in and after seeing it asks if I'll stay and see the doctor.
Dr. Foster is gone so I will see Dr. Biers.
I'm very impressed with how quickly everything goes.
Again- within minutes I am taken to a room and he enters shortly thereafter.
After examining the spot and reading my history he decides I should stay the course with radiation until Dr. Foster sees it on Monday.
"You seem to be having an acute response to the radiation. We don't see it often, but it can happen. It can also resolve just as quickly."
He prescribes Tramadol for the pain. I run a few errands with Rick while we wait to get the Tramadol filled.
I am more than ready for it when we arrive home.
I eat some dinner, take my meds and fall into a deep sleep.
4 rounds down, 11 left to go.
"Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are."