Sunday, August 31, 2014

And then I threw away her mask

It's been just over two weeks since I had my gall bladder removed. I am healing nicely. The two weeks coincided with the start of my chemo and radiation treatments. I was supposed to start last Monday but encountered trouble with the Specialty Pharmacy that my insurance uses for chemo. Because my chemo is administered by pills I had to order them myself. It seems a little crazy. It has to do with the insurance getting to charge me more for the pills. Anyway, that's done and I have had two days of treatments. 

The effects of the chemo are slowly making themselves apparent. I am more tired and my stomach is a little more queasy, similar to the way it felt after my surgery. This 3 day weekend should give me a chance to rest up since treatments won't start again till Tuesday. I only take the chemo on the days I get radiation which will be Monday through Friday on regular weeks.

The first radiation treatment was surreal. I found myself thinking about what it must have been like for Vicki when she had hers. Because the cancer was in her head they made a form fitting mask and locked her head in place. It freaked her out so much she had  to take Valium for each of her thirty treatments. I didn't understand until that moment what she had gone through. Now I know. 

It feels so strange when the machine makes it's beeping noises while the radiation is being directed into your body. You have to be perfectly still. After all, you don't want the deadly beams going astray and frying your naughty bits. So, understanding how she felt and still feels about the mask I saved to someday make a wall plaque of her face, I threw it away.

The last thing she needs to recall is the strange feelings and anxiety associated with cancer radiation treatment.

I have 26 more treatments to go.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

In and Out Surgery

It turned out that my Gall Bladder needed to come out before I started cancer treatment. I had the surgery on Thursday. We went to the Hospital at 10 AM and were out by 2 PM.  They don't mess around.

Three days after the procedure I'm starting to feel human again. The surgery might be fast but it still takes a while to get over it.

I look forward to missing the assorted pains and maladies associated with gall bladder problems. 

My treatment will be delayed a week or so till I heal up enough to take the chemo and radiation. With luck I'll be able to start before the end of the month.

For now I'll just concentrate on feeling better and getting back to work.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Good News about Bad News

I'm one of the worst procrastinators when it comes to medical tests.

So.... after 18 months of putting off something I never wanted to do, but really needed to do, I had a colonoscopy. I took Wednesday of last week off to take the prep and had the tests on Thursday. Since I have GERD, I also had an Endoscopy. The results were interesting and scary.

I found out I have a hiatal hernia in my esophagus, I have gall stones and I have Cancer.

That's the Bad News.

The Good News is that in spite of the seriousness of the cancer it is treatable. The oncologist says there's an 80% chance of success. I like those odds.The CAT scan I had Friday didn't show anything in my organs, so that's more good news.

Monday we will get the results of the biopsy. There are at least two different kinds of cancer that can occur in the area they found mine. Once we know, the oncologist will be able to prescribe the proper chemo. 

Due the size and potential stage of this cancer it will be treated with radiation and chemo in tandem. 

I have appointments with the radiation people, the surgeon and oncologists next week to finalize the treatment plan. I'll also need to get a PET scan as well. The radiation folks are picky about where they send their deadly beams.

By the following week I should start treatment. As it was explained to me on Friday it will be six weeks with radiation and chemo five days a week for that period. Then a month or so for healing and then maybe a surgery or not or two. There are some variables here according to the stage of the cancer, the type, my reaction to the treatment, the cancer's reaction and just plain luck.

I admit to spending one sleepless night contemplating my eminent demise before I met with the oncologist. Vicki and I were much relieved after our visit with him. If my radiation people and my surgeon are anything like my gastro and chemo guy then I am truly blessed. 

You see that's the really Good News about the Bad News.The doctors who are treating me really care. It is awesome to deal with folks that give a shit and who get it. 

What's your good news about your bad news?