August 18, 2010

"Radiation On"

Our lives have now taken on a bit more structure to them. At 7:00 my alarm goes off and I take my first dose of medicine: anti-nausea. At 7:30 it goes off again and I take my second medicine: Temozolamide, an oral form of chemotherapy. I lay and relax for an hour and then take three more meds: anti-seizure, anti-heartburn, anti-brain swelling. At this point I can officially eat. Monday this resulted in four hours of vomiting bile. At around 2:00 I managed to eat five crackers and felt drastically better. Nausea, and very small portions seems to be the name of the game so far.

At some point (usually in the afternoon) we go for my radiotherapy. James sits in the waiting room while I change into a hospital gown. I enter a futuristic looking room and lay down on a machine.

My hard, green mesh mask comes down over my body down to mid chest and is bolted to the table (it kind of reminds me of closing a guitar case). I can feel the pulse in my throat pushing
against the mask and the thing even presses against my eyeballs. My collarbone feels compressed.
This is of course so that they can radiate me with perfect precision. Yes, I can breath. If I position myself just so, I can also keep my eyes open in slits so that I can see a bit of the procedure.

The technicians hover over me, their shadowy hands adjusting,
bolting, making markings on my mask. Eventually, they tell me that they are now leaving the room, but don't worry, they are controlling every machine, they can see me the whole time and they can hear every noise I make. They leave the room and James
watches on the outside as a massive door about 1 ft thick slowly slides shut with me inside. A sign above the door illuminates, saying "Radiation On".

Inside the room, from my slit eyed, green meshed perspective, the machine starts to work its magic. Electronic arms, rotating disks and red lights move around me. They move toward and away from me, but they never touch me. They buzz, they beep. Red beams of light appear and disappear. I have to fight my basic human instinct to try and see what is coming at me from my peripheral vision. There is Spanish flamenco guitar music playing in the background.

Maybe like the Man in the Iron Mask, I am actually an illegitimate heir to the throne of England. Or maybe I am just starring in a SciFi movie.

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