• Another 100 Days of Good Karma: Day 236 (Radiation Dry Run: Make the Yellow Line Turn Green)

    Radiation room

    Radiation room

    Wednesday, March 4, 2015

    Run/ Walk/ Bike/ Elliptical (Today:  3.26 miles;  Running Total: 191.99 miles)

    Day 236 of *Another* 100 Days of Good Karma.

    Today was a dry run for radiation treatments.  Think of it as practice so when radiation starts tomorrow my medical team knows that everything is lined up correctly.

    The room and table you see above is going to be my home five days a week for the next six weeks.  As of right now the schedule shows I will be done with radiation on April 15th.  So while the rest of the country is cringing over taxes I will be celebrating the end of cancer treatment (fingers crossed!).

    The blue thing at the top of the table is the cradle I will lay in for each treatment.  The black thing at the end of the table tracks my breathing patterns.

    Since I’ll have to hold my breath for radiation treatments they put a pair of glasses on my face that allow me to see my breathing patterns.

    The glasses show me a white column with a thin horizontal yellow line and a blue stripe near the top.  With each breath I take the yellow line moves up and down inside the white column.  When I take a deep breath the yellow line goes up to the top of the column, when I let out my breath it falls to the bottom.

    About three quarters of the way up the column is a blue stripe.  When the yellow line falls inside the blue stripe it turns green signifying I’m holding just the right amount of breath for the radiation to work.

    The nurses sit in a control room just to the side of this room where they can monitor the treatment.  It looked like NASA’s Mission Control in there with all the monitors and cameras and high tech gadgetry.  To practice the breathing technique a nurse spoke to me over the intercom system.  “When you’re ready, make the yellow line turn green.”

    It definitely took some practice.

    Sometimes I’d take too deep a breath and the yellow line would go over over the blue stripe at the top.  In those cases I’d let some air out to make the line drop into the blue area, making the yellow line turn green.

    Sometimes I’d take too shallow a breath and the yellow line wouldn’t reach all the way up to the blue stripe so I’d have to take in more air.

    The nurses said that each treatment will take about half an hour.  I’ve read that this type of breath holding treatment takes about 15 minutes longer than treatment without breath holding (more here, if you care to read about it).

    The giant sci-fi looking thing behind the table moves around my body taking images and delivers the radiation treatment.

    After my dry run I met with my radiation oncologist.  I’ll meet with her once a week during radiation.

    Her nurse gave me a smock made by a church group.  Instead of having to wear those god-awful hospital gowns this group makes a smock that has Velcro along the front and sides making it easier to get into and out of the smock during radiation while also making me feel like I’m covered.  Bless them.  That was amazingly sweet and wonderful of them to think of.

    I was also given aquaphor to put on my skin during radiation.  I really have to baby the area to help my skin tolerate the radiation treatment.

    The smock is made from a regular scrub top, but all the blue stripes are Velcro sewed on by the church group.  This makes it easy to get to the area being radiated and also lets me feel covered.

    The smock is made from a regular scrub top, but all the blue stripes are Velcro sewed on by the church group. This makes it easy to get to the area being radiated and also lets me feel covered.

    This card was tucked inside the smock.  A big thank you to this group.  You understand how much I've grown to hate hospital gowns.

    This card was tucked inside the smock. A big thank you to this group. You understand how much I’ve grown to hate hospital gowns.

    This will be my skin's best friend in the coming six weeks.

    This will be my skin’s best friend in the coming six weeks.

    Today’s silver lining:  Let’s get this show on the road.

    April 15th, here I come.

    What’s your silver lining today?  I love comments!

    Don’t want to leave a comment, but have something you want to share?  Send me an email at gettingthewordswrong(at)gmail(dot)com.

    xoxo,
    Meghan

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7 Responsesso far.

  1. Tina Smith says:

    soaking in all the info. I love the informative blogs about what’s coming next for you. That smock is totally rockin’ — AND NOT PINK!

  2. Pam says:

    Wow, Meghan. I can’t believe you have to hold your breath like that — thank goodness you’re super-fit!

    Thinking about you 🙂
    P

  3. Michale Bauer says:

    Thanks for sharing all the details of your treatment … very interesting how they can help you hold your breath using biofeedback-type technology. I’m praying your 1st radiation treatment goes well today.

  4. Auntie Minute says:

    You will breeze thru this and by the middle of April you will have your normal life back!!! I love how you give us all the details, its really interesting to know exactly what you are going thru. Love you, Auntie Minute

  5. Kristel says:

    I swear by Aquafor as a miracle treatment for cracked heels in the summer. Love that stuff! So glad you got some free samples.

  6. Mom says:

    On your mark, get set, GO! Amazing what modern technology has come up with. You come up with very interesting ideas too. Now, you have to get ready for Hannah’s birthday! Love you glowworm, Mom

  7. […] was wearing one of the ugly hospital gowns, not the donated smock I was wearing so I knew she was new to […]

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