Thursday, November 15, 2012

3 down, 27 to go

There's my Mask, waiting for me.
Here's the Linac machine (a.k.a. The Zapper) that kills cancer cells ~ and many other cells ~ in daily five minute increments.

The Techs are awesome, supportive & fun. They spend their working hours down deep in the bowels of the Perelman Center building. N'er does a ray of sun ever reach its beige colored depths, but the people who work there are mighty sunny :) I've been thinking of funny things to do to the techs...

• Use an eyeliner pencil and make a whole bunch of dotted "tattoos" around my real one.

• Tape "Help Me" on the soles of my shoes, ala Catholic Wedding High-jinx Style.

• Point to the person next to me when my name is called (already did this & it got some smiles).

How does radiation feel? 

If The Zapper didn't make noises, I wouldn't know anything was happening. 

Here's what happens when I go for treatment...
My name is called in the large reception area, and I go back into the spa-like changing area & don my choice of two designer johnnies ~ one ties in back, the other worn like a robe. I get to keep my clothes on from the waist down, plus my shoes. I wait a few minutes in a smaller waiting room. Usually there are a few other people there and I wonder what battles they are fighting.

Next, when my name is called, I go down the hall to one of the five Linac machines housed in rooms of thick walls & huge heavy doors (I'm guessing the door is about 4" thick). I take off my outer robe, lie down on the slab, grip each handle at my sides and wait as the two techs bolt my mask down to the table & move me about slightly to line up the laser beam with my tattoo. The techs leave the room, shutting that honkin' big door behind them. They reassure me if I have any problems, just raise my hand, as they are watching me every second through a camera or a window. 

Got me both ways :(
As long as I'm not late for my appointment
or do not have to pee, I'm okay with it!
My eyes are closed due to the mask, and I start mentally singing my "99 Bottles of Beer" song as The Zapper begins to make assorted humming & adjusting noises. The table I am lying on moves slightly forward and back until I am lined up. Various ranges of humming noises and bright lights start happening which I can see through my closed eyelids. There is a noise towards the end that has a higher-sounding more intense buzz than the other noises & I'm thinking that's when my radiation is being delivered. The first time, I thought I felt all the cells in my neck sit up and say "Wot the Hell?" and I haven't had that feeling again since. This treatment takes about 5 minutes. I get to about "72 Bottles" before I hear the door open. I get off the table, go change & am on my way home. Yesterday, since my appointment was at 8am, I got to go through rush hour both coming & going... w00t.

How do you feel after treatment? 

So many people have told me I will be tired that I think I am self-fulfilling that, whether I am really tired or not. I could be catching Craig's cold, or it could be PMS lurking, but I spent most of yesterday snoozing on the couch with occasional guilty bouts of light housework. I can't believe that I would feel any effects after only three zaps, but my incision site on my neck feels a bit tight & sun-burn-y. My tongue feels a little thicker. Dr. Ahn prescribed this for me for further down the treatment road when my throat & mouth are sore:  
"Magic Mouthwash #18" ~ I ain't kiddin'!
It's the first indication of humor I've ever seen on a medicine:)

I'm told that since The Zapper is indiscriminate on what cells it destroys, the best way for me to build up my good cells is by consuming lots of water & protein. I have to time the "water" part just so. I'm sure I'll have some "GOTTA PEE" moments on the Schykyilllksdjfkjas;lfjsdf Expressway. 

Maybe by the end of my treatment, I'll learn how to spell "Schuylkill" :)


  1. well, lets start at the end:
    you spelled "schykyilllksdjfkjas;lfjsdf" correctly!
    um, magic mouthwash#18...must be neighbors with the wild mushrooms ive heard people talk about!
    radiation from the sun and machine are the same right? should you wear sunscreen?
    pms sucks?
    your neck cells got all lined up like they were in mexico in the 1800's. you know firing squad style...(did they have their last ciggy?)
    lets not use the word slab.
    4 inches, not bad...we know where to go when north korea figures out how to read the english directions on that plutonium.
    how is that zapper with zits. really, cuz im tired of them at my age!
    all in all, i hope you feel the most minimal effects, the banana foster at wawa is really good! they use a real banana and its icy...
    <3 u...

    1. i meant pms sucks! theres no question there!

    2. Haha Lisa! Thanks for your witty comments :)

      I will definitely treat myself to a Wawa Banana Foster ~ yum!

      Neck cells lined up in a circular firing squad.

      I haven't had a chin (radiation range) zit in a while (other locations, yes, damn it), but will keep scientific tabs on it if one arises:)

      Thanks for the <3

  2. When I asked my doctor why my post surgery went so easily compared to all the horror stories I had been stuffed to the gills with - she said "Munchberry (LOL), Attitude is 9/10ths of recovery... even when the shit hits the fan. You are happy and positive. You dictate how things will be - good or bad." She was right. You will be good, because you are and will impose your will come what may.

    One leap month to go.

    1. Thanks, Mz. darlin' Munch.
      I will endeavor to continue to be good, think good & do good:)


  3. Leap minus 2. I aint the brightest bulb in the box : ) Oy