Saturday, January 26, 2008

Radiation: Week Two

The dressing room in Radiation is a busy place at 8:15, early morning being a convenient appointment time for most patients. I meet the same women every day: the youngish Lincoln Park matron with the Vuitton duffle, the petite grandmother who walks ten blocks to the hospital, and a lady of perhaps fifty who wears skin-tight spangled jeans and an extravagant long wig. It was the last woman who gave me the head's up on what to expect in the next two weeks. "What number are you on?" she asked me. I told her I was on 14, so not quite halfway through. She was getting treatment number 20, and her skin was very sore. She warned me, "Don't put any cream on before. It's like basting a turkey." She showed me the area on her chest and armpit where her radiation was targeted. Her normal color was a medium brown, but the area under her arm had been burned to nearly mahogany. My skin is starting to show a radiation burn, as well. Poor breast: scarred, dented and now broiled until it turns red...Frankenboob, I call it. I hope holding on to it was worthwhile.

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