Saturday, November 04, 2006
3 radiations down and 27 to go!
Dear friends, I have now been downtown for 3 radiation treatments. It turns out that they are only doing 3 fields, not the 4 I thought. Once they did an actual treatment, it was obviously only 3. I asked the radiation oncologist about it when I saw him Thursday and he explained that they are covering all of the area with the 3 fields just fine and didn't see a need for the 4th. That is good because it makes the lymphodema risk in my left arm smaller. Here is what the experience is like when I go for a treatment...It takes almost 2 hours to get back home from when I leave to go there. I drive 40 minutes, go inside, change into a gown and sit in the waiting room until my number shows up on the screen. Then I go to my treatment room where they are waiting for me. Once on the table, they take a few minutes to get the settings on the table, machine and my little dot tattos lined up to make sure I am level. I can count to between 40 and 50 seconds for each dose to each of the 3 areas. After they do the first one, the machine and table are reset for the 2nd one and then again for the 3rd. The machine is at about 2:00 when I am looking up for the beam across my front, about 7-8:00(next to and below me) for the one to get my left side, and 12:00 above me for my clavical node area. All of that takes about 20 minutes. It doesn't hurt. I actually can hear but don't feel anything. Then I get dressed and go home. There is valet parking for patients if I want to use it. I had been told that I would get to meet everyone having radiation about the same time as me each day, and that we would really get to know each other. I got there early enough to do that on Thursday and Friday. There are 2 nuns at this catholic hospital (St. Joes) who are there to visit with the patients several days of the week. They are delightful. They "induct" and "graduate" patients at the beginning and end of their weeks of treatment. Since I am moving to the afternoon from the morning next week, they didn't induct me. They will let the afternoon nuns do that next week. I had to skip out for my treatment during another person's graduation on Thursday and one of the nuns asked me afterward what happened to me. I told her my number had come up and I had to go. She told me that if I ever say that again, I have to pay a fine and put it into the mouse shaped piggy bank sitting on the table. So, all that is to say, everyone is friendly. When I realized I would be missing some lunch appointments to do my 1:00 treatments for the other 5 weeks, I asked if I could move my appointments later in the day. They are giving me 2:00 instead, which is much better. That will start next Thursday. I am grateful for that. I can come and go in between rush hours. I am going to the dentist on Tuesday to get a check-up. I have an infection under another tooth (it is swollen and sore) and we need to decide what to do. I think I will need this tooth pulled also as root canals always go bad on me. I am allowed to do my dental stuff now that chemo is over and my blood counts are back to normal range. Please pray that these dental issues will be resolved. I know I have 2 areas of osteomyelitis still in my jaw bone that I need to have cleaned out, but I need wisdom about when to do what, and what to do. Also I would appreciate your prayers about my tiredness. It is too soon to be extra tired from radiation if that is an eventual side effect. (For some it is, and for some it isn't.) But I am not sleeping well due to hot flashes all night long. They wake me up hourly it seems, and then I have a lot of trouble getting back to sleep. I am trying different things, but would appreciate you praying that I would find the right combination to work. Jenni ended up driving me Friday since I was so tired and she didn't have school. Thanks much for your interest and prayers- God bless you- Nancy