Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Radiation Treatments Through April 21st

Morgan was a trooper through radiation.  It was at 3:15 every day M - F for 24 sessions.  Each session only lasted about 15 minutes or so, but it took us about 40 minutes to drive there and an hour to an hour and a half to drive home due to rush hour traffic.  We would go into the facility and Morgan would change into a gown.  She would go into a room where the door and walls were over a foot thick.  She laid down on a table with a plastic form for her head and they would line up her "tattoos" with the lasers until she was in the exact position.  She had to hold perfectly still while the machine rotated around her.

The staff at Utah Cancer Specialists were so wonderful.  Morgan went to the Prom during her radiation treatments.  On the day of the dance, they let her come in at 9 in the morning rather than at 3 in the afternoon.  They were all so excited for her and wanted to see her pictures the next week.  It was like being a part of a big family of people who truly cared about Morgan and wanted her to not only get better physically, but to be happy and emotionally healthy as well.

One visit, about halfway through the process, I was waiting and waiting for her to come out.  In the waiting room there were several of the same wonderful people that I came to know quite well and became good friends with.  We would do puzzles and share stories...they were truly a blessing to us.  Anyway, it had been quite a while and I looked at my watch...it had been an hour!  Should I be worried?  What was taking so long?  After about another half hour, Morgan came out looking a little worse for wear.  She was holding her neck and didn't look very happy.

Apparently the doctor wasn't pleased with the way things were lining up and wanted to make sure it was perfect.  The tattoo wasn't in the right place on her body (the tech had placed it to the side so it wouldn't show when Morgan wore a v-neck rather than right in the center of her chest). So from that session on, they were going to take x-rays first to make sure the radiation was hitting the exact spot each and every time.  Good news for thoroughness/bad news for comfort.  Now the sessions were always 45 minutes or longer.  I am not complaining, I would do anything for my kids, but it is strange to look back on this time for it felt like it would never end.

On April 21st, after Morgan completed her last radiation treatment, she came out and "rang the bell."  It was awesome!  It is a tradition to ring the bell after completing radiation treatment. We were fortunate enough to witness more than one patient get to ring the bell.  It is an empowering and emotional moment for them and their families.

   FYI:  Once you have radiated a particular area, that area cannot be radiated again.  You can have chemo for a recurrence, but cannot have a second round of radiation in the same exact area.  That was something I did not know.

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