1/11/13 - Radiation Simulation - Part One

First, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I hope 2014 is a great year for everyone.

Now, on to radiation news. Yesterday I had (part one) of my radiation simulation. It took me about an hour to get there (traffic was good). I arrived at 8:45 a.m. and they called me in at 9:15. The appointment took a little over an hour. I took a picture of the CT machine. I had to disrobe from the waist up and wear that lovely gown they provide with the opening to the back. The female technician asked me to lay face up on the table, with my left arm above my head, in the arm holder. You can see the arm holders in the picture. I couldn't put my right arm above my head because I have a shoulder that pops out of the socket. Therefore, I will be doing rads with one arm above my head, and the other down by my side. She asked me to put my right hand in my pocket. She said this would help keep me still. Once she had me positioned correctly, she exposed my left breast. At that time she taped little wires along my surgical scar. She said they do that so they know where the scar is when doing the scan. Then she left the room and started the scan. During this time you can't move. I was scanned for about 10-15 minutes before she came back into the room. At that point I still had to keep my arm above my head while she marked my breast with a sharpie. Then the Radiology Oncologist (RO) came in and made his own marks. Finally I was able to relax my arm for a few minutes. Next the technician removed the arm holders and changed to a different pad and had me lay on my side with the same arm extended above my head. This time she had me place my left hand on my head, and my right arm was down by my side. Then she left the room and scanned me again. Personally I think she put me in that position so they can go in their little room and make fun of me. I must have looked so ridiculous with my arm extended over my head with my hand resting on it. That scan took another 10-15 minutes. I guess the radiologist didn't like that position, so they went back to the other position with the arm holders. They scanned me again which took another 10-15 minutes. Then they doodled on me a little more. Next the technician  took pictures with her camera. They do that so they know what position you were in for next time. They put a mark on my right side and covered it with clear tape. They put three marks down my middle and two marks on my left side and covered them with clear tape also. When I shower I'm supposed to avoid those areas. They will use those marks for placement when they tattoo me. If you're claustrophobic the scan should be pretty easy. As you can see by the picture, the tunnel is very small. I have a return appointment (Part 2) for the 20th of January. At that time they will tattoo me and do a dry run. They will also give me my radiation schedule on that day. I had to give them a two hour window for when I would like my appointment. That's pretty much it. The hardest part was keeping my arm over my head for so long.

I've developed a lump at the 6:00 position in my left breast. The surgeon looked at it this week, and she thinks it may be a seroma (fluid buildup) which developed from the surgery. To be sure, she ordered another ultrasound. They are trying to get that scheduled as quickly as possible. My RO said he will not start radiation until they know the results of that test. I'm hoping it's not another tumor after all of this. If so, I'll be pretty ticked off. I had blood work today and everything looked good. I have my Herceptin infusion on Monday.

I had a wonderful Christmas with my family.  Robyn flew home on Christmas Eve and Mike had Chrstmas day off. We stayed in our jammies most of the day and cooked lasagna and spaghetti. After dinner we went to Peg's for dessert and I really enjoyed spending time with the kids. It was a wonderful holiday and I was sad to see it end but I am glad to put 2013 behind me.

That's all for now. Thanks for checking on me.



Special thanks to Tricia and Sharon for driving out to see me over the Christmas holiday. It was great to see both of you! Thanks for making that long drive.

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