Igor and Flora

I promised pictures of the radiation machine today.  I found pictures on Google of the exact machine that I am in – the Varian Trilogy.


So I am on the long platform with my head at the end with the big machine.  On the platform is a long sled thing that has two arm thingies that raise my arms so that my hands are near the top of my head and a shelf they refer to as “the butt rest”.  Then they put a leg rest below the butt rest so that my legs are bent and more comfy.

The platform moves up and down, forward and backwards and side to side.  I have marks all over me so that the platform is positioned in line with the radiation angles of the machine.  The part of the big machine that is white and grey move 360 degrees around you.  At one point the blue piece directly over the platform, moves under me and off to my left side to blast the back of my left flank.

varian rapid arc 2

This is a different color machine but you can see what I mean by it rotating.

They keep the lights on while the radiation is blasting, but between blasts, the lights go off and the therapists turn on green laser lines so they can line up and measure the angles  of radiation.  It is incredibly precise.

Every two or three days I have to extend the radiation party by 10 minutes because they have to take xrays to make sure that all my markings are still in alignment.  That’s tomorrow.



Flora and Igor:

Flora is the big blue thing from the first picture.  This is what it looks like when you are underneath it.



When this is in its resting position it is about 10 inches from your face.

The teeth start out all closed but then move around based on where things need to be zapped.   At one point they all open up and you get this beak like thing in the center, like a thing that’s going to eat you.

I want to say it is 18 to 24″ in diameter.  It looks mean – no idea why “Flora” popped into my mind. Maybe the blue?



Igor looks like the top part of Wall-E.   When it is right above you, it looks like the giant eye, which made me think of Igor (EYE-gor) from Young Frankenstein (Frohnkinsteen).  It didn’t do much today which makes me think that it is used for the xrays.  So we may meet again tomorrow.   It’s on this arm like contraption so it kind of darts in and out above you and goes up and down, so it is very inquisitive.



Socks of the Day:   Leonard from Big Bang Theory


Fight On!



Radiation: Day 1

Warning:  I’ve included a picture of my torso that shows the radiation areas.  It’s safe for work but if you’ve never seen a mastectomied person, it can be a bit jarring.

I did it!  I did it!  I did it!

After I had the chat with my ONC, I just set my mind that I had to do it.  I was super nervous still and I’m still in all that pain but I just dealt with it.

It helped that I took a Norco and chased it with an Ativan a few minutes before I got there.  I was feeling rather funky.  I also got a better gown.  Last week they had me put on this thick blue, long sleeved with cuffs gown that was about 1000 degrees, so today I requested a short sleeve, normal hospital gown.  Much nicer.

I got in the room and it was the same therapists from last week.  I thanked them for their patience last week and we had a good laugh about it.  They ask me if I want music during the setup/rads (about 1.5 hours), and of course I said yes.

Therapist:  Can we put on some Classical or New Age?  Something calming?

Me:  Well, no.  Can you put on 80’s Hair Bands?

Therapist:  80’s Hair Bands?

Therapist 2: Who would that be?  (for shame)

Me:  You know, Aerosmith, Whitesnake, Motley Crue…

Therapist:  That’s calming?

Me:  No, but it’s definitely more fun!

They found a GREAT pandora station and I spent the setup and radiation listening to and singing 80’s hair bands.  I can sing easily from the position I’m laying in although my voice is still crap.  I can’t air guitar or drum.  They get mad and tell me to lie still.

During the setup, they had to draw all over me with different colors to mark each of the different sections they are radiating.



Everything in the red sections gets radiation and under my arm there is a green section that goes around my side that gets zapped as well.  Every section is a different setup position for the machine.  They put tegaderm stickers all over me to maintain the key points of the lines.  The rest will wash off.

I get 3 sections of Protons (the radiation that goes deep) and 2 sections of Electrons (the radiation that doesn’t go as deep).  It doesn’t get zapped from straight down, there are complicated angles that you get zapped so that the radiation hits the area affected and not healthy tissue (or bone marrow areas)

I didn’t feel anything during the radiation.  The machine buzzes while you are getting zapped.   The machine is nuts.  You think there is only one thing above you but then it starts rotating around you and like 6 different parts came out from nowhere.  It looked like I was being investigated by aliens.

Of course I named two of the parts:  Igor and Flora

Igor is a rectangle and looks like the top eye part of Wall-E. Very inquisitive. (FYI: it’s EYE-gore not EEE-gore)

Flora is circular; blue all around with this metal circle plate in the middle.  It looks all nice and sweet but then this section in the middle starts opening up and it looks like a thousand teeth coming to eat you.

I’ll draw pictures tomorrow, I need to get a second look.

I also like fun socks, so I’ve decided to wear a new pair of fun socks each day I go.  These are my day 1 socks:  The Flash!


32 days to go.  Thanks for the prayers and positive energy!