1.15.2008

"It's Hotter Than a Microwave. (Wave)"

How bad is radiation? Knock wood, but so far, on the precipice of the halfway mark, not so bad.

Every work-a-day morning around 9a, I make the 15 minute drive to UW hospital. Upon my arrival to the parking ramp, I beat my fists against the steering wheel as I wait for Ms. Indecisive and Mr. If-I-Drive-Slowly-A-Spot-Might-Open-Up to get the hell outta my way so I can get to the upper decks (what's another flight of stairs? I should be exercising, anyhow) and grab a parking space.

Then I wind my way down the stairs, across the drive, and into the hospital, at which point I shoot passive-agressive daggers at the folks at Registration because they ask too many damn questions before validating your parking ticket. "All you need to know is that I have an appointment, jerk. Don't make me scream HIPPA!"

Through the cancer admin offices, down two separate flights of stairs, and I'm finally in the radiotherapy dungeon. I'm guessing they hide us away in the basement so as to minimize the risk of zapping the non-cancerated patients.

I give the rad techs--I mean radiation therapists--a wave, and they usually bring me right into the treatment room. Sometimes they make me step on the scale beforehand...yesterday they told me I dropped 5lbs in a week, but it's because I had a coat on the time before. Might want to be consistent about that, folks.

Once in the treatment room, I hop up on the table, kneel at the bottom of my belly board, and drop my drawers while lying down as quickly as possible so as not to flash my lady business to God and everyone.

Of course, my ass is still hanging out for all to see, but that's because the techs have to line my itty bitty tattoos with the marks on the board and levels and all sorts of other measuring techniques that I can't see in addition to their touching up various pen marks which serve the same purpose.

The machine that kinda revolves around the table is a linac. I really don't know the specifics of what it does, but it nukes me from three different [precisely calibrated] angles for a few seconds a piece and sounds like a cross between "zzzzzzzz" and "EEEEEEEE!" when it does. The techs are in a different room when this is going on, but they come in between zaps to fiddle with the machine. Again, not exactly sure what they're doing.

The nuking doesn't hurt at all...well, not yet, anyhow. The nasty side effect I've yet to experience is skin burns and irritation. I've heard it compared to a bad sunburn, the difference being that instead of slathering yourself with aloe, you are forced to keep sitting in the sun until treatment is over. More manageable side effects I have had are fatigue and the all-too-familiar trots. Oh yeah, and let's not forget the whole possible egg scrambling/definite uterus scarring effect of it all. Gah.

Like the chemo, the effects of radiation are cumulative, so while I might feel pretty good now, I could conceivably feel like complete crap even two weeks after treatment is over.

That's my radiation story for ya...Now, can anyone cite the source of this post's title?

2 comments:

Mick Jones said...

Only four hits on Google, one of which is this blog. Is it Big Audio Dynamite?

Sugarmouth O'Riordan said...

Boo! Google cheat! ;)

But yeah, the lyric is from "The Globe" by BAD II. Which thankfully came out in 1991...I could have sworn it was more like 1987, which would have made me feel ooooooooold.