Yesterday was the last of my “regular” radiation treatments. A landmark of sorts. And it was followed immediately by the “blocking” or positioning for my eight boosts, which started this morning. It’s difficult to describe what the boost set-up entails, other than to say some metal framework is clipped onto the front of the multileaf collimater that delivers the radiation. The framework comes down to within an inch or two of my chest and, I assume, helps to precisely focus the radiation beam on the tumor bed and internal nodes beneath it.
One of the techs drew a rough circle on my chest so they and I can see the area that will be getting radiated. I got a good look at it when I got home and was relieved to see that although it’s bigger than I expected, none of the currently irritated areas are included. Big relief, since they’re now looking and feeling pretty “sunburned.”
It did finally dawn on me last night that it’s the Aquaphor that’s removing the ink markings and loosening the stickers that cover the x marks. That goopy stuff is mostly Vaseline, which is often employed to help remove stubborn adhesives from skin. I’ve not really liked using it because it’s such a greasy mess, but it does provide relief sometimes when nothing else seems to be working. I’ll try to rely on the Eucerin and Miaderm from now on, but no promises to the techs. I told them I’d come in slathered in Crisco if necessary.
I’ll have a total of eight boost treatments, the last on Friday the 13th (I’m not superstitious, but can’t help noticing …), and don’t really know what to expect as to how toasted the area might get. Hopefully no worse than what I’ve experienced so far, but since the boosts are in addition to the previous radiation … hard to say. Probably better not to think too much about it.
The boosts are even shorter than the regular treatments. Just a minute or two. It takes longer to get into position than to be treated. And most of my time is spent changing into and out of those stylish hospital gowns. I was away from home for all of two hours this morning. Makes the round trip even more annoying. So much driving for such a brief treatment.
As for the cough … it’s still there. I think it’s better, but it’s very hard to assess objectively. I am doing better with the spirometer, however. Deeper inhalations more consistently, and far fewer of them interrupted by coughing.
And it’s been a while since I mentioned my weight. When I was diagnosed back in April, I was 205 pounds give or take. I have very gradually slipped down to 184 as of two days ago. (Fear not; I’m well hydrated and all lab work has been normal.) I’ve gone from my baggy summer pants into my previously uncomfortable Lane Bryant jeans and on down into the Old Navy jeans that I hadn’t worn for maybe four or five years. And even they seem a tad loose. Good thing I have a belt with holes all the way around because I think it’s too soon to start investing in this size. Besides, shopping and trying on clothes is exhausting, frustrating work. I hate it. That said, if I never put those pounds back on, I’ll be quite pleased. It’s just not a diet I’d recommend to others.