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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Its been 2 weeks of treatments.   So far, so good.  There have not been any noticeable side effects up to this point.   I am attributing this to the fact that each day before I leave I click this button.  Try it.  It really works.  Believe me.  I am an expert on pushing people’s buttons!

Everything is going as planned.   The time is going by fairly quickly.  2 out of 5 weeks of treatments are done.  Towards the last week of treatments the radiation doctor will contact the surgeon to figure out when to schedule the surgery.   After 4-5 weeks break between radiation and surgery to allow the skin and everything around the knee to heal that would put the surgery date around the end of April or early May.  Its still a long way off before I’m out of the woods but I’m feeling like it will go well.  Being patient with the whole thing still the hardest part.  It seemed like I  waited so long to get started with radiation.  Still 3 more weeks til that’s done.  Then I have to wait 4-5 weeks to have the surgery done.  Then who knows how long recovery will be.  It’s going to be an extensive surgery.  Can’t we just fast forward this to see how it turns out?  I would flip to the last chapter to read the ending but the other thing I found this week is I need reading glasses!  All of the sudden  I noticed I can’t see things when I hold them close to my eyes.   After a trip to the eye doctor I’m now WAITING for new glasses to arrive…ain’t life grand?  

That’s looking like it’s going to be my only option soon.

Thanks to everyone again for all the support and calls and cards.  I really appreciate all the support.

“Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right.”

-Muhammad Ali

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Ever wonder about that? It’s kind of the same thought I get while lying on the table getting radiation. I completed the first week of treatments. It’s about what I expected so far. It takes about 40 minutes to get there. I go in, check in at the front desk where they already know your name the first day which is nice. I go directly to the changing room to get in to one of those beautiful hospital gowns that tie in the back. You need to be a contortionist to tie it yourself but I manage. The size of gown choice is not optimal either. I can choose the pretty blue one that looks like a mini dress on me or the giant maroon one that could double as a car cover if needed. I go with the maroon ones. After changing to the gown I wait for only a few minutes before they bring in the back room for the treatment. It takes about 3 minutes to set me up in position. Then the machine does its thing. It starts on the left side for one shot. Then it rotates around to 4 other positions for a shot of about 30 seconds each. That its. Its done til the next day. I go back to the dressing room, change into my regular clothes and start the 40 minute drive back home. The whole time I’m sitting there staring at the ceiling, not moving (try not to wiggle your toes the guy told me the first day) I’m thinking it’s hard to believe this giant metal barrel looking thing rotating around me making buzzing noises is doing anything to take care of this cancer. So I’m changing the question to “If a giant metal can rotates around you and makes buzzing noises but you don’t feel a thing, is it really doing anything?” I guess I’ll find out soon enough. They are supposed to check the progress shortly to see how its responding to the radiation. That will be interesting to see what’s happening to it. For now I’m just keeping these words of wisdom in mind:

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”

~ Winston Churchill

One week down, 4 more to go.  Friday I felt extremely tired.  Not sure if it was from the radiation or something else.  I’m still not sleeping as well as I should be.  We met with the nutritionist on Thursday.  She mentioned even being a little dehydrated could make you feel fatigued so I should be drinking lots of extra fluids and also trying to eat a higher protein diet.  Will have to start working on all that too.  Can’t say I’ve been eating all that well lately either.  Hopefully a little fatigue will be the worst of any side effects.  I’ll keep you updated.  Stay tuned!

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Lao-tzu – Chinese philosopher

Tomorrow that journey officially kicks off for me.  I had the final set up and dry run today.  It was basically nothing more than getting an x-ray.  They did all their final alignment with some lasers and moved me around on the table a bit to get me in the right position.  I did not even realize the machine they will be using for the radiation was what I was on today.  I thought it was just another x-ray machine but I found out that’s where I’ll be going every day for the next 5-6 weeks for the treatment.  To me it looked like an old washing machine hanging upside down.

This is pretty much what it looks like except the one I was on looked like it was and older version…much older: 

The bed is stationary.   The head of it rotates around you to aim the beam at the correct location.  It will be a quick process.  They told me it will take about 10 minutes of setting up when I get there.  Then only about 5 minutes to get the radiation.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat daily for 5-6 weeks.  It seems as though it has taken FOREVER for this to finally get going.  The wait is over.  Its game time.  All I can do now is hope for the best!

No, I don’t want it. It wasn’t offered as an option to me. However, the battle against it is finally scheduled to begin. I have my set up appointment on Monday, the 13th. At Last! (R.I.P Etta) The set up is where they will take all of the stuff they did from the “simulation” appointment like the MRI, the CT Scan, the mold of my leg, the alignment of the knee with lasers, etc. to see if they got it all in the right place. I’ll get to do everything BUT get the actual radiation. It’s the “Dry Run”. They also tell me I will be getting some sort of blood work after they do all the setting up. Not sure exactly what it is they’ll be doing but do whatever ya gotta do to get rid of this damn thing. Tuesday will be the beginning of getting zapped every day for at least the next 5 weeks. I’m just as anxious to get started as am in wondering about how it will effect me. So many people have said so many different things. Will it hurt after a while? Will I get fatigued from it? Will I be able to drive myself the whole 5 weeks? Too many things to worry about? Just take it as it comes is probably the best thing to do. As someone told me once, just don’t think. That’s priceless advice!

Always look on the bright side of life.

I went to the “simulation” on Tuesday. That is the first step towards radiation treatment. First I had to get the mold of my leg set up. The mold was nothing more than a plastic bag filled with “spray foam” as the technician called it. I put my lower leg in it and let the foam harden around it. While that was setting they lined up the area to be treated with lasers and marked my legs with “tattoos” which are just 5 black dots on my leg that look like freckles. Afterwards I got the CT scan of my knee. All that took about an hour. I then had about 90 minutes to kill before returning to have an MRI done of the knee. That took over an hour! I bet you never realized how long an hour is until someone tells you “don’t move” and all you can do is stare at the ceiling til its over.

After all that I am back to the waiting game. It takes a few days for them to work their magic lining everything up to determine exactly where to administer the radiation. Somehow they overlay the MRI onto the CAT Scan in order to figure out where and how they plan to zap me. Within a week is all they tell me as far as how long until I go back. The next step is the “dry run” where they’ll test all the setup they just did. I’ll go through everything like a dress rehearsal where they’ll do everything but the actual radiation. THEN it will be the daily journey to Commack for the next 5 weeks. I wish there was more to tell everyone but there’s nothing more happening for the next few days. ‘Til then, Always look on the bright side……