I went to Dr. Kottapally and got my measurements for the radiation. It’s kind of funny because I was expecting something high-tech and he took a CT Scan and then whipped out a Sharpie and drew the pattern on my abdomen. Basically, it’s a rectangle, about 4 inches across and 8 inches long, from the base of my sternum to just below my belly button.
I started the radiation treatments last Wednesday through Friday. It’s a fairly easy process. I showed up and Stephanie, the office’s cheerful receptionist, checked me in. I went in and met Tracy, Mark and Jeff, who introduced themselves as the technicians who will be responsible for my care.
I dropped trou and laid down on the table on my back. They covered Righty with a lead shield to keep him from harm and adjusted me so I was aligned with the target field for the linear accelerator.
I’m fairly certain they put the shield in the freezer about an hour before I got there. Nice… Then they left the room, zapped me from above, the machine spun on its axis and zapped me from the bottom (I call it "radz to da abz"; my wife called it "radz to da nadz"). It all takes about fifteen to twenty minutes and then I am on my way.
I felt pretty awful by the time Friday rolled around, as the effect of the radiation is cumulative. I didn’t feel much like eating, and I was really tired. Other than that, though, it was all right.
One of the things I have been trying to do is to keep the whole thing from my eight-year-old daughter. We recently lost a neighbor to cancer, and I'm afraid the word “cancer” alone would be too difficult for her. When I got home, I took my shirt off without thinking, and she walked in and saw the marks Dr. Kottapally had drawn, including a cross right in the middle of my abdomen. I froze, but she just looked and said, “Huh! Holy Spirit” and pointed to the cross on my belly.
“That’s right” I said, confident she had the correct answer.
I had a cavity, my first one in probably about 25 years. But of course I did. Normally, this would piss me off to no end, but now it’s just a cavity, one more thing to deal with.
My wife and daughter had perfect checkups, so that’s a great sign. Go GIRLS!