Fascinating radiation details

Today I managed to get one of the techs talking and learned some fascinating details about the radiation process. This will be more of a “process” post than a “how I’m doing” post, so if you’d rather skip it, I understand.

The first thing I learned today was why I’m supposed to turn my head a bit when I lay down. I had thought it was just so I lined up better, but turns out it’s really to stretch out the skin on my neck a little and move my chin out of the way for the third and fourth treatments. Those two treatments are targeting the lymph nodes under my collarbone. I didn’t realize there would be radiation up that high. I guess I need to start moisturizing up there as well.

The other information I learned today had to do with the old way of doing radiation treatments. Now, for every treatment, there are lead interlocking leaves in the X-ray machine that the computer moves so only a specific part of my chest is irradiated. Before the computer could make the changes, the techs had to put in custom-made panels for each treatment. They would actually use a molten lead alloy and pour it into a mold designed just for you, and create one for each treatment. I get two squares and then a shape that looks like Utah tipped over 90 degrees. The tech said they would have to be in and out of the room up to ten times for each patient, which would mean I’d have to lay on the table with my arm in the torture device for even longer. No thank you! I want to be out as quickly as possible. As it is, my shoulder muscle complains mightily and half the time my finger start to go numb.

And those are my fun facts for the day!