There was no lump -- a Breast Cancer blog

This blog is about my experience with Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
You can learn more about Inflammatory Breast Cancer at or

The names of my Doctors have been changed.



Contact me at Liane58 at gmail dot com
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Location: United States

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The Toaster

I was thinking (in my treatment) about how the radiation machine needs an affectionate nickname. (I still think it needs to be decorated with stickers and artwork, but I guess that's not going to happen). Of course, thinking about that computer in the film "2001," anthropomorphizing powerful machines can have sinister overtones. How omniscient this one is, is not clear to me. My five Radiation Technologists are like high priests tending it, with their ritualized vocabulary of actions and words (I was looking up "gantry" and "bolus" the other day). Gosh, I guess that makes me some sort of ritual sacrifice, being placed on the altar – every day. That's not a very positive metaphor. Let's try something else, like the machine as some sort of spa apparatus, the RTs as the masseuses and spa attendants, and me as the recipient of the machine's healing rays and the RTs healing touch (and healing Sharpie marker lines). That's better – it is after all a healing ritual – maybe it needs to incorporate some Navajo elements? It really does need to be aesthetically improved.
Anyway, The Toaster was the nickname I came up with – affectionate, yet sarcastic. Before my treatment started I had imagined that my treatments might be like going to a tanning booth – soothingly warm, and filled with a brilliant sunny light. But of course that's not the case, the radiation I'm getting is invisible. But I am seeing the effects, as my skin is getting red in the quadrant they are zapping. Exactly one half of my right armpit is being treated -- that half remains bald while the hair is flourishing on the other half.