Introducing Audrey Draconis, and the start of radiation therapy.


Forgot to tell you that yesterday the head chemo nurse saw my new tattoo and almost took my head off. Possible infection! Possible unexpected reactions! Bad girl! When I demurred, she said that “somebody has to be the grown-up around here” and marched off. Trouble is, I agree with her and, in fact, am happy that she has to be the grown-up and not me. Also happy that I didn’t say anything about a new tattoo before Pueo joined my life. Sotto voce, I have named the nurse “Audrey Draconis.”

The hardest part of today was getting up, groggy with sleep, at 6:15am. I generally feel awful when I haven’t had sufficient sleep, so don’t know whether to attribute this afternoon’s upset to that or to the radiation. Which really was a piece of cake.

I showered and put on my “I’m not dead yet” t-shirt, then remembered some of the other patients I have seen in the radiology waiting-room, people who are not dead yet but are creeping closer by the hour. I changed into a different t-shirt, out of respect for them. As it turned out, I was the first patient of the day so didn’t have to worry about offending anyone on my way in, but still.


photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Being in the radiology machine is rather like being inside a Transformer. First, red laser lights are used to make sure the radiation goes where the doctor wants it to, then the bed slides you into the gizmo until the desired body part is reached. “Gizmo” isn’t really the right word. This machine is rather like a humongous glazed doughnut with a bite taken out of it. It buzzes and clicks, an arm folds out then folds itself back in, and the business end of it circles around you with lugubrious dignity, right to left, stopping often to click and buzz as it zaps radiation at the tumors. Takes about 15 minutes, during which I think about cancer cells falling into little bits and microphages like tiny Pac Men gobbling up the pieces. Then off to talk to the on-duty radiation oncologist – one I had not seen before – who needed to give me his version of the Your Friend Radiation Therapy speech. He was very thorough and approved of my gung-ho attitude. He also said that I might get 28 zappings instead of 25, because a lymph node lit up during the PET scan. He said the chemo was going to be awful. He said that by the end of the therapy, I was going to hate his guts. We shall see. Total of half an hour, home by 9:30.

Then I drove myself home, and Steve and Nancy applied the firstĀ  coat of paint to the bedroom floor, and I put in a few hours at work, during which I discovered that a co-worker has apparently been assigned to take over part of my job. My supervising attorney doesn’t know yet about the cancer and the treatment, so this was not done as a favor. It pisses me off, because the co-worker has neglected to do an important part of her job since the middle of March, so this assignment is not because she needs more work. So I got all upset about that, before I put it aside for the time being.

I think a nap is in order, don’t you?