I’m four treatments into radiation, which is daily, at 10:30 AM at Berkshire Medical Center. On the efficient days, I walk in, say hi to the techs, change, go into the zapper room and lie down, they position me, they put in the beam-benders and beam-blockers and leave the room and zap me. Then return, adjust the machinery, put in the second set of -benders and -blockers, and zap me again. Each zap is about 30 seconds. During which time the bright lights in the room go on, a red light on the ceiling that looks like a police-car light goes on, a buzzing noise fills the air, and silently and undetectably the machine beams radiation through my left breast. I lie there counting my breaths and trying to figure out how to visualize something positive about this instead of thinking of the Russian ex-spy who just died of radiation poisoning in London. Wish me luck.
So, on the good days I am dressed again, de-objectified, and out of there by 10:45 or 10:48. On the less-good days I have to wait in the waiting room until they’re ready for me. The waiting room is nicer than Albany Med’s, though–above ground, for one, and with a tall wood-covered half-barrel-vault ceiling with clerestory windows that let natural light in. Despite the relative pleasantness of the waiting room, I am keeping them a “star chart”–one star for every day I’m out of there in under 20 minutes.
Repeat every work day until the end of the third week of January, and I’m done with my treatment. Haven’t figured out how to celebrate yet. Meanwhile I suspect my hair is growing–almost invisibly, it’s so fine–but when I get dressed in the dressing room at BMC with the bright light shining down on my head I think I can see new growth between the hair that never fell out (about 2%, which I kept shaving). I guess I’ll know if I’m hallucinating in a week or so.