Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First radiotherapy

G'day all!

Today I had my first roast chicken episode.

OK, I'm not really crispy fried. Not yet anyway!

I drove to the hospital. I hadn't been there for a whole TWO WEEKS! I found a car park a fair way away from the hospital (I'm too cheap to pay the parking fee, especially since I have to go every weekday for six weeks) and wandered in. I was called in rather quicker than I expected. The radiologist went through everything with me, mostly chit chat. My brain tends to fall out of my head when I'm experiencing something new.

Anyway, after changing into a gown (I wear that same gown for the next six weeks), I was led into the radiotherapy room.

The machine looks very like the one on this page (though it isn't that very machine because that one is in England). It was all very Star Trek. I hopped on the bed, slipped the gown down and lay down. The two technicians pushed and pulled and marked and measured - they were very pleased that I still lined up with the measurements and the green laser beams that help ensure I'm in the right spot. They carefully lined me up and told me the machine would move and buzz and when it was buzzing, it was zapping me. Oh and to stay still. They left the room, ding donging the doorbell (which was a very sad sounding door bell - it sounded sorta droopy) and shutting the gate behind them.

So I lay with my arms over my head, rather uncomfortably really, and the machine moved around me and made a noise like a coffee grinder in one of those big commercial espresso machines (I think that is the lens type mechanism moving) and buzzed/whined, then moved again, etc. They are irradiating my boob and my neck. For my neck, I had to hold my chin up high to keep it out of the way of the beam. That feels rather like when you are at the hairdressers' getting your hair washed or stuff rinsed out of it - gives one a crick in the neck!

I didn't feel anything bar the supports on the bed annoying my shoulders or the neck cricker.

It all took rather longer than I expected, but it turns out that the computer was being uncooperative (yikes!) and had to be told what to do much more often than it normally would.

Afterwards, I talked to a nurse about skin care, and all sort of other issues, some related to my treatment, some not. Apparently bras may be verboten - not a big issue for me because I am not generously endowed. I may end up only tolerating cotton against my skin. That is fine because most of my tops are made out of cotton as I don't like wearing synthetics against my armpits. (I have two lovely synthetic singlets but they are singlets/tanks, not sleeved things). Oh and I can't use anything containing metals on the skin around the irradiated area, including sunscreens and deoderant, plus bio oil and emu oil are not good to use as they help crispy fry the skin. Lovely!

One down, only 29 to go!

Speaking of things medical, I have to say I am getting over being called "Sir."

a) we are Australians, we don't say sir.
b) I am not a sir, I am a madam. (Not *that* sort of madam!)

Apparently having very short hair and/or wearing a cap (mauve? pink and mauve? Pale green?) and/or wearing tie dye automatically makes me a man. Yep, I had a sex change when I underwent chemo, not that I noticed. I still have 1.8 boobs. I have hips and a waist. I don't have a beard but I fear I am working on that and the moustache (my eyebrows and eyelashes are growing back! Alas that means all the hairs that ever were are growing back too... and the chemical menopause I'm in adds to the hairy burden. Goodness it was wonderful being quite bald!).

I guess I'll just have to wear low cut tops so that I completely confuse the poor shop assistants. It must be a man, the hair is too short! But BOOBS! Woman! Wo-man! A transgender! OMG, do I call it sir or madam! OMG, I offend them either way!

I am ploughing through the 1.8gig of pictures I took in Sydney and Katoomba. Ai-ai-ai, too many pics, mostly of the same sort of things that will bore others witless but I like :-)

Whoops, didn't post this yesterday! Now I've had my second radiotherapy and am feeling a little crispy fried - the irradiated area feels warmish, like it is in the sun or something. Interesting. We shall see what happens!

anon!

4 comments:

  1. Are people not paying attention?? You are quite obviously a wo-man. Stupid people.
    So many rules, I think they should tell you things afterwards as well as before so your brain can be in gear.
    Hope your warmish spots are cooler tomorrow.

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  2. Things sound like they are a bit more positive these days.

    One year I wore my brothers old jacket & tie trick or treating. A woman asked my name, then proceeded to say how nice it was to see a young man dressed up "these days". With the accent I had, it must have sounded like "Ian". I did have short hair, but still... I decided to ignore her.

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  3. Maybe it's because I know you, but you look completely female to me! Then again, a couple of times I have come to the door wearing tracky dacks and an old comfy T-Shirt and had the sales-person at the door ask me if mummy or daddy are home. I'm 38 and they live 20 km away, how should I know!
    I think sometimes sales people are a bit un-observant :)

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  4. Hope things are OK with you Lynne. I know the radiotherapy and its constant grind made my sister very tired. Take care.

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