Thursday, June 23, 2011

Planning Session: We're Good to Go

So yesterday was my planning session, the last step before radiation therapy actually begins.  The experience was a mixture of intimidating equipment, fascinating technology, and excellent therapists.  (I would choose a more specific adjective to describe the therapists, but I can't think of a single word that means knowledgeable, efficient, and compassionate.  If you know one, let me know!)

The treatment room looks similar to this one: radiation machinephoto © 2007 liz west | more info (via: Wylio)
That machine wasn't too intimidating until the circular part was directly over the table.  I was positioned and instructed not to move--which is precisely when my nose started to itch, of course.  In the reflection from the glossy ceiling panels, I could see crosshairs projected onto my body.  That's a bit eerie!

ISS Current Config - Reflective Solar Panelsphoto © 2005 Bruce Irving | more info (via: Wylio)Here's the cool technology part:  Last week I had a CT scan.  Based on the data collected in that scan, the computer planned all the angles, etc., for my treatments.  Yesterday the therapists double-checked all of the measurements and calculations.

When they thought everything was correct, they moved away that machine.  Another panel, which reminded me of the solar panels on the International Space Station, moved in on a robotic arm.  That was part of the x-ray machine, used to verify that the setup was targeting the right area.  A series of x-rays and a confirmation from the doctor later, I was on my way.

Throughout the process, a road map was drawn with Sharpie markers--though the therapist was kind enough to clean off the dots, lines, and circles after she gave me another half-dozen or so tattoos.

I start my treatments today.  If you would like to pray specifically, please pray that the treatments would be effective, that side effects would be minimal, and that I'll have the endurance to get through the upcoming six weeks.  I take comfort in knowing that this is all happening for some reason and, even though I don't know what the Lord's purpose and plan are, He is always, always in control.

If I have a chance to write a post later today, I will share my Friday's Fave Five tomorrow morning.  Hope to see you then!


  1. Just said a prayer for you
    I am so glad that I know someone as strong as you!
    Thanks for sharing this journey with us.
    Love ya!!!

  2. You're so awesome to be sharing these details with us, Melissa. I really didn't know how these things work.

    So I am praying that this treatment WORKS!, that it won't make you feel too bad or other yucky effects, and that you can persevere through the next six weeks.

    Thanks for sharing your specific requests. Love you!

  3. That sounds very intimidating.

    I will continue to pray.

  4. You have been in my prayers! I hope everything went well today!

  5. Prayers and love as you requested! God speed on the recovery dear friend!


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