This morning I met with Dr. Ramsinghani, and she gave me my radiation plan.
First, the radiation tech will schedule me for the simulation. That’s where, using a CT scan, they set up the computer that communicates with the radiation machine, whatever they call that. After that, I return and they review the films from the CT scan and make sure everything is ready to go. Then I start the treatments.
Dr. R says they will radiate two sites: my left breast and the lymph nodes in my neck. The reason for the node site is that the positive node had burst, and the next place the cancer cells would go would be the lymph nodes in my neck (left side). She said they would not radiate the axillary site because between the surgery and the chemo, it should be clean. Also, she said, radiation to the axillary site where the lymph nodes had been removed causes a 40-percent increase in risk of lymphedema. If any cells had escaped, they would have gone to the next lymph node site, which is in the neck. I’ll go every day for 6.5 weeks.
When I first hear the news about the burst lymph node, it startled me. As I’ve gone through the therapy, I’ve gotten used to the idea that this thing was growing inside but the therapy is taking care of it. The question you keep asking yourself when you’re not thinking about anything in particular is How do I know it’s all gone. You don’t really get a clearance, except, I suppose, after you go through five years of negative tests. When she gave me this piece of information, though, I could feel that fear again nagging again with that question. No matter, though, as I know that if I keep thinking about that question, I will be taking a negative slant on my focus; and I need to remain positive because that’s also part of the therapy.