my first day of radiation

I just came back from my first radiation session.  It was easy piecy!  I expected blood and tears, but I didn’t even break a sweat.

Today my friend Qionghui and her husband accompanied us to NTU hospital. Qionghui told me about her aunt who had a cancer operation just like mine.  That was thirty years ago and she is still around.  “The happiest member of our family.”  Thirty years is long enough for me.

I dressed in the usual Gandhi sheet but the radiologist was unhappy.  The black mark on my chest — where the plastic mask is supposed to line up with my body — was no longer visible.  “Bad boy, you’ve been taking showers!”  She sent me off to have it redone.  The nurses were giggling as they shaved my chest hair.  “Very sexy.”

Then they put me on a narrow bed and pushed me into the radiation room.  They placed the mask on my face and strapped it down.  After adjusting the machinery for a minute, everything was ready.  “Don’t look at the laser, and don’t worry.”  “I won’t look,” I replied, “and I don’t worry.”  “OK, let’s go!”

For the longest time, nothing at all happened.  Then there was a piercing sound and a blue light passed before my closed eyelids.  Then a rattling sounds, as from a machine that was moving into a new position.  The piercing sound and the rattling sound replaced each other for some ten minutes.  I came close to falling asleep.  Then the nurses returned.  “OK, it’s over.”  That was it.  A real anti-climax.

Diane says my neck looks a little red, but I don’t feel any different.  But I guess the effect will build up over time.  To celebrate the first successful day of treatment I had a gigantic banana, walnut and soya milk shake.  I’m going to be the first cancer patient ever to put on weight during treatment.

Tomorrow we’re going back to NTU for 4 hours of chemotherapy.  Reports will follow.


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