The Painted Lady

Well, I am now quite the painted lady.

I started radiation today. I did the initial aiming last Friday and thought I has a lot of black paint pen marks all over my torso. I had no idea what “a lot of marks” was.

I got to the radiologists almost 10 minutes early after breakfast with the ladies of the church (there was no trouble with I-75 or the Red Parking garage–two places you can spend lots of time stopped). They brought me back immediately and spent over half an hour with more aiming and marking. I now know what a lot of marks are.

The actual radiation process itself wasn’t all that different from the aiming. You lay there, you hold onto the pegs, and the machine moves and makes noises. And, unsurprisingly, I don’t feel anything different. The biggest side effects of radiation are exhaustion, which I’ve had a lot of lately, and a slight burning of the skin (like sunburn), but both of these take time to appear, apparently.

Exhaustion? Yeah, okay, so things haven’t been great. And it’s not due to the cancer, or even the treatment, directly. I had a sciatica attack in 1999 in my right hip. As soon as I figured out what it was, it’s been easy to keep in check. But with surgery on my left side, it’s been hard to find a comfortable position to sleep in. So, I slept badly wrong Sunday night and my sciatica kicked in. Not cancer, not surgery, not radiation, just plain old sciatica has knocked me down badly. And the only drugs that have any effect on the pain also make me incredibly tired. So I’ve had to decide between being asleep or being in pain. I usually take the coward’s way out and take the drugs. So I’m dreadfully far behind in grading and, with classes ending next week, I really need to do something about that.

But each day I’m getting a little better. I can recognize that, but it doesn’t keep me from being pissed when I’m not well.

Of course, I may be a little disappointed that I’m painted too. I figured I’d be getting tattoos that I’d have to turn into butterflies after treatment is over!


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