Then they applied a bunch of long stickers to my left breast (which they called wires, because they have metal wires in them, I think, but no need to be worried, because there is no poking here), outlining the shape. That took a little while -- the resident did it, and then the attending came over and re-did it all to his satisfaction. Got to love a teaching hospital.
(I actually do love a teaching hospital -- so far at Loyola, I've felt very confident that when they had a student working on me, the student was extremely well-supervised and wasn't doing anything they weren't capable of doing. And I find it comforting, somehow, being part of teaching the next generation of doctors.)
The next part was the actual radiation -- they coached me through practices at holding my breath for about 15-20 seconds, which you do because it moves the area they're irradiating away from your heart, making it less likely that your heart takes any damage from the very localized radiation. After a few practices, they slid me through the machine, which was kind of fun -- there's a green light that spins around the circle as you're going through, and a very Star Trek kind of machine noise; it all feels quite futuristic.
That was almost the end of it. They did have to give me three tiny blue dot tattooes before they let me go; it basically felt like three quick, sharp pinches. No big deal. I very much appreciate the techs being fast and efficient -- they didn't really give me time to get nervous about it. Boom, boom, boom, done. (As a side note, both radiation therapists say they really like their job, and think it's much easier work than being a floor nurse (far less dealing with bodily fluids), and would recommend the position to any of my students thinking about future careers. I think you only need a B.A. to do it, though you do need to follow a particular accredited program while you're in college.)
And that was it. In about a week, they say they'll call me to schedule the appointments; the Monday ones will be 30-45 minutes, since I meet with the doctor on those days -- the Tues - Fri ones will be 15 minutes, and they say they're pretty good at getting us in and out quickly and on time (esp. if you have a morning appt., as I do). So far, so good. Onwards!