I laid on the table being tugged and pressed into the proper position, the green laser lights forming lines on my abdomen.
With a blue sharpie, the radiation technician drew Xs where the lines crossed, semi-permanent marks to help them position me every day for the next six weeks.
As the techs prepared to leave the room for the xrays that would confirm I was lying on the table correctly, one of them gave me a few instructions.
“Your job is to lay perfectly still and breathe normally,” she said, as if that would be easy enough.
Then, I was alone in the room, the large orange colored cylinder hovering just overhead, red lights flashing from the far side of the room. Suddenly, lying still seemed nearly impossible and my abdomen, reflected in the machine above me, was moving up and down far more rapidly than “normal.”
Once the xrays were completed, the techs returned briefly for a few more instructions, then left the room once again to begin my treatment, limiting their own exposure to the radioactive material.
The machine rotated around me as I lay on the table, completing a full circle in less than a minute as it buzzed and hummed. When it stopped, I assumed it was now in position to begin the treatment.
Instead, the techs returned. The treatment was over.
“See you tomorrow at 7:30,” I told them as I walked out of the room.
One down, 24 to go.