This morning I went to the first of two planning sessions for my upcoming radiation therapy. I was asked to disrobe from waist up, don a gown (opening in the back) and lie down on the CT Scanner, face up. They had thoughtfully heated the room, as well as the blanket they covered me with. They pulled down my gown and taped markers to my chest and sides. After adjusting my position, I was covered and they left the room. The scanner started up and I was moved through. Within minutes, one of the nurses came back and told me the machine seemed to be broken. Time to move to another room.
After a short wait, I was directed to a different room where the older scanner was located. They apologized, saying that it worked but was “real slow.” This room was quite chilly. I lay down on the scanner bed and grasped the bars above my head as instructed. As I attempted to relax, the 2 techs (1 male, 1 female) pulled my gown down and drew 3 large red crosses on my torso: 1 between my breasts and 2 more on each side of my rib cage. All this happened while I held onto bars on the scanner bed above my head. There were more adjustments by a different male tech, who pulled up only one side of the gown before he left, leaving me semi-nude. Since I wasn’t supposed to move, I didn’t think I should adjust my gown. I felt like some Amazon queen on her funeral bier as I was moved through the scanner: cold, still, and exposed. The nurse was right: this scanner WAS slower. Rather than one smooth motion, I was moved through in choppy increments, less than a 1cm at a time. Since they were scanning my lungs, this took some time. Oh well, it wasn’t painful, and while it was a little nippy, I’ve been much colder.
After the scan, they handed me extra tape to cover my red crosses, cautioning me against washing them off in the shower. I was told to get dressed and wait fifteen minutes to ensure the scans were good. Evidently they were. My next appointment will involve being x-rayed, and having tiny, dark blue dots tattooed on my body to indicate where the radiation should be directed. After this, I finally begin 5 weeks of radiation treatments, administered every weekday.
On the positive side, Kaiser validates for parking (only) for radiation and chemo therapy. Hey, you can’t beat that: free parking with cancer!