I’ve got you under my skin


When I arrived for my first radiation appointment the supervisor met with me and told me that they would not be able to accommodate my “no men” policy. She and the social worker spent the better part of an hour explaining, pleading, and reassuring me. I cried . I did not want any men in the room. In the end they won. Men will be in the room..but they will not touch me. And whenever possible I will be covered. I felt worn down. It was just a simple fact that men outnumber the women and I had to go along with the program. I had to play nice. They suggested I see a therapist for my issues.

As I entered the room the radio was playing I’ve got you under my skin by Sinatra. I thought it ironic and let it lighten my somber mood. Again the procedure was painful. I have to hold a bar over my head with my neck cocked at an angle. The discomfort does quite a number on my muscles. And I was finding it pretty difficult. I took a pain pill before I left but it wore off before radiation started.

The actual radiation is colorless,odorless, and void of sensation. I really had no idea where the actual radiation was coming from. There are green lights that bounce off the walls. And there is a light in which they slide grids that need to match up all my tattoos. Again they drew all over me. Mimi asked me not to wash the marks off. It is demeaning…embarrassing. I would rather be tattooed.

In addition to the normal radiation ,every other day, they lay a gel- like mat on top of me that allows the radiation to go more to the surface. Typically, they do not want to do this because it increases the likelihood of scarring and burning the skin. In my case it is necessary because I did not get clear margins at the time of my mastectomy. { clear marginsthis means that when they did the surgery they went beyond the involved area in the hope that they would find the tissue to be clear of cancer cells. In my case they found involvement beyond the area they took. When this occurs cancer cells left on the surface can cause skin involvement also called skin metastasis}

Once a week they will also give me an extra bolus to the neck. And at the midpoint they do a treatment with electrons that feel like needles pricking me during the treatment. I know that all this radiation will hopefully prevent me from getting skin mets and a recurrence in the area. Hopefully, it will also shrink/eradicate the tumor in my neck and clavicle. When the treatment was over I felt like I was going to be sick. I think its from laying there with my arms up over my head. It is not too painful but its kind of draining emotionally. I really am not looking forward to tomorrow. One down 44 to go.

3 Responses to “I’ve got you under my skin”

  1. Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/jono0379/public_html/olshefski.org/punkrockmommy/blog/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-google-analytics/ultimate_ga.php on line 524
    Lyn says:

    I don’t understand why there has to be men in the room… im so sorry that they don’t understand for your need for that kind of privacy!! My prayers are with you…I pray that you will find peace and you will be able to relax despite the male presence in the room….Im so glad that you found humor today with Frank playing!! xo Lyn

  2. Larue says:

    Again, I can’t believe what is happening to you! It makes me so angry that your wishes/concerns are being dismissed and the fact that they suggested you should see someone regarding your “issues” is unacceptable in my eyes-but then I’m not there. How long time-wise is your radiation treatment and are you in that uncomfortable position the whole time? Considering all the discomfort you’re having, are you able to have acupuncture again? I just remember reading all the great results you got from it during your chemo. It would be great for you to feel better again! Still praying for you daily.

  3. Dina says:

    Hey Andrea. I think most doctors and medical professionals expect us to behave like objects instead of humans. After all, they’re saving our lives, right? Give me a break. Anyway, when I was in the thick of my medical issues I was so pissed that I was expected to just lie there and spread my legs for every student and associate that entered a room. After a while, I just gave up. Very few of my doctors “got it”. I’ve been told that the smarter a medical professional is, the worse his/her bedside manner is, but I think that’s bullshit. I guess I handled being on display by imagining that they’d seen worse. And I handled asshole doctors by thinking that they must just be that way because if they felt anything at all they’d go home each night and sob themselves to sleep. By the way, can you listen to music during radiation? Just curious.
    When you get a chance, can you remind me of all of your kids’ names and a little about them? I was telling my class about your family yesterday and realized that I had major gaps in my knowledge. I know Bailey is a beautiful girl in elementary school, Jesse went to Spain this summer and seems kind of sensitive, Clayton is the little guy with the adorable cheeks, Alec is the future brain surgeon, and Asa is a twin and has a cool name. Who am I missing? Is it a twin? I feel stupid, but am not finding it in the archives. Have a relaxing weekend!!!