Pinky Pie

And Then There Were Two & Me

Posted on: March 12, 2010

The Susan T. Hessel radiation countdown continues with …

How about those ants?

The ants go marching two by two. Hurrah, hurrah!

The ants go marching two by two. Hurrah, hurrah!

The ants go marching two by two, the little one stops to tie his shoe,

And they all go marching down to the ground to get out of the rain.

Or perhaps, your musical tastes are more like the “No, No Nanette,” song, “Tea for Two.”

“Picture me upon your knee

with tea for two

and two for tea

just me for you

and you for me alone …

No, No, Nanette movie poster. The dancer bears no resemblance to the writer of this blog.

If I’m resorting to ants and a 1925 musical for my inspiration, it might be time to retire this radiation countdown. Soon. Two more sessions left.

My last day of radiation was to be today, but alas, I broke the machine that delivers radiation on the first day of treatment. After asking about safeguards to make sure too much energy is not delivered I was told that among features is the linear accelerator will not work if there is even a minor problem. So there I was the radiation newbie on the table when it came to a screeching halt (OK there was no screeching, but it’s an image).

It took from that Wednesday afternoon that week until Friday to get it up and running, which means I have my two last days of treatment on Monday and Tuesday. Having gone there five days a week for six weeks, I am wondering how I will spend my free time once this is over.

I’m now in the “boost” stage of the radiation, which is suppose to decrease the risk of recurrence of the cancer. I’m all for that.

The boost phase consists of five sessions, using a different form of radiation, electron that goes less deep, along the “tumor bed.” This is the area where a recurrence is most likely to occur if a cell escaped and decided to regroup and attack again.

A couple weeks ago, the radiation oncologist created the path, which is about an inch around the incision. The radiation therapists then built a form through which the beam goes.

When I saw the mold and picked it up, I was surprised by how much it weighs. “You ever break anyone’s ribs with this thing?” I asked.

The radiation therapists looked puzzled, wondering why I would ask that kind of question.

Duh. That mold is fit on the machine itself, not on my chest. My ribs are covered with a “bolus,” a membrane that helps make sure the radiation stays closer to the surface. My ribs are intact. So far.

This boost treatment is even faster with just that one field, which led me to suggest I could have had drive thru radiation therapy. I could just lean my body out of the driver’s side window. Just so I don’t text and radiate at the same time.


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