We're down to two more radiation treatments.
Since Friday, I've been going for the "boost" treatments that focus only on the section of the breast where the original tumor was. That means I have this long oval marked from my nipple down the side of the breast, along with the not-so-fashionable Sharpie markings covered in unattractive transparent stickers. I got those nice little decorations on the first day of this stage, right before they started the treatment. And the skin area within the oval looks as if it got a bit too little sunscreen and a bit too much sun, even though I've been diligently covering it with the prescribed lanolin lotion along with the rest of my breast.
The boost treatments themselves are different from my whole-breast experience. First off, I'm laying on my back instead of my belly, with my left arm extended over my head. For the first time in this whole escapade, I could actually see what the radiation therapists were doing, along with the monitor screen where the treatment plan numbers and so forth are. I don't know what they mean, but, well, there they are. It's like being in a totally different room from the rest of the treatment regimen.
The other difference is in the duration. Instead of getting two 10-15 second zaps with a break in between to change the angle of the machine, I just get one longer zap of about 20 seconds, and they put a frame on the zapper to match my treatment area.
So far, so good, except for that little sunburned bit, but I guess that's to be expected. I see the doctor tomorrow, so we'll see what she has to say.
On another topic: Hair... it's continuing to grow in. My scalp is looking darker; it appears the new hair might actually be black, or dark brunette. Along with the grays, that is. I keep telling myself the gray is because the pigment part of the follicle is still dormant due to the chemo. Yeah, that's it. I can't dye the hair until it's three inches long, so may as well make friends with it, however it looks.
I also noticed more eyebrow hairs coming in. I hadn't mentioned it, but while I didn't lose my eyebrows completely, a lot of the hairs fell out. Now they all seem to be coming in at once, which will ultimately lead to them all falling out at the same time, too. It's not surprising if you consider the way hair usually grows. The growth cycle is usually staggered, but when chemo stops the fallen hairs from regrowing, they all kind of grow in sync once the chemo is out of the picture. Inevitably they all will fall out around the same time since they have similar lifespans. I'll probably see that happen for a couple of cycles until they stop synching. It'll be fine. If anyone asks what's going on I'll tell them my friends shaved them off one night after I passed out drunk.
And my nostril hairs have grown back in. You have no idea how helpful they are until you don't have them... and you get a cold. Trust me, they're useful.