Saturday, September 4, 2010

five down 20-23 to go...

Radiation started this past week. I have now endured 5 sets of being bombarded by particles that both cure and cause cancer. Monday the ordeal kicked off about 1/2 hour late. I have one of the earlier timeslots in the morning and these appointments are supposed to run much more like a swiss clock than normal doctor's visits, which I would liken to swiss cheese. So this did not leave me with the confidence that things would always be on time and on schedule. Fortunatey Tuesday - Thursday was pretty much on time, but Friday was almost an hour late. Given that the actual radiation treatment takes about 1/2 hour the overall average time commitment is close to 2 hours once you factor in the commute and changing into approrpiate garb. Also, on a weekly basis I am expexted to meet with the radiation oncologist to make sure treatment is going well. So far things are going okay and I have minimal debilitating side effects. However, given that I have about 10 hours a week dedicated to those doctor's appointments and I'm working full-time I've still been trying to figure out how to fit all things together. Add on top of that the other personal obligations such as Katarina's first day of kindergarten (which is probably worthy of a whole post in and of itself).

The radiation is interesting enough. I get placed on a machine and they move me around until my tattoos and markings are lined up in the lazer sights. Then they cover me with a flimsy blanket to keep me warm and leave the room. I should be able to pick my music, but usually they have a classical CD playing. Thursday I got a trip down memory land starting with Dreamweaver and then Blinded by the Light - how fitting, eh? Then I start counting. The big machine zaps me from 9 different angles. I even started counting the number of total zaps to keep my mind off how cold I am or how uncomfortable it is to lie flat on my back on a metal plate (221 I think). I don't get the same number of beams from every angle, so it's kind of fun to know how far I've gone and how many are left: 27, move, 50, move, 72, 96, etc. It may not seem like much, but it helps to pass the time.

Like I mentioned, I have not felt too many side effects. Fatigue is a big one. Mere mortals probably would be wiped out, but I'm still powering through. The other main side effects are nausea and general digestive junk. To combat the nausea I have been eating more, which sadly is no help to my struggle to not gain any more weight. My doctor told me not to worry about it, but he's not the ones who can't fit into his cute gray pinstriped pantsuit.

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