Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Radiation Treatment Planning

The process for planning radiation treatment is more complex than I’d ever imagined.  I finally Googled it today.  I’d called to let my radiation oncologist’s office know that I’m ready to begin – my temperature is back to normal and I’m feeling much better.   The technician promptly scheduled me to begin treatment today.  But then I got a call from her this morning saying that she’d jumped the gun and that my treatment plan was still in the physics department and was not yet complete.  

So what goes into a radiation treatment plan?  Here’s a brief explanation. Wow!

 My treatment starts on Monday, March 31. 




Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Radiation Planning Appointment

Today was my radiation planning appointment.  Very interesting. 

The object is to get you positioned so that the radiation gets to the right place – and to make sure that you’ll be in precisely that same position for every treatment. 

To do this, they make a mold also called a cradle. Here’s a link to one brand of cradle.

Once I was in the basic position, it was a matter of fine tuning – lots of minor adjustments until the technician thought she had it correct.  Then she called in the physicist who took a look and gave his approval. Next was setting the mold – a little more pushing and shoving to make sure my position would remain stable. She made X marks where the lasers were hitting.  One on each side and one on my chest.

Then the radiation oncologist came in and put little stickers all over.  These will show up on the CT scan.  My head was positioned so that I couldn’t see any of this. 

Then came the CT scan.  Didn’t take more than a couple of minutes. 

Once the scan is done, the technician removes all the stickers and proceeds to the tattoos..  At the center of each X she put a drop of dye and then stuck it with a tiny needle.  These will be the targets for the lasers when I have each treatment. Not exactly body art, but probably the closest I’ll come. 

They had me scheduled to start treatment next week, but that’s been postponed because I’ve been feeling really crappy lately.  Running a slight temperature, not able to eat much, and just no energy at all.  Had some blood tests yesterday to see if anything shows up.  I wonder if I haven’t just got myself into a self-perpetuating downward spiral.   Not eating is not good and leads to lack of energy, and all the other problems, etc.  So I’m trying to get some good food and plenty of fluids inside me to see if that makes a difference.  Would be nice if it was a simple as that. 

In the meantime, my head fuzz continues to grow very slowly.  I can actually feel it moving when it is windy. 

Taste buds are still AWOL.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Chemo done- waiting for radiation

Nine days after my final chemo treatment, I see some small progress.  My brain isn’t as fuzzy as it was; and I have actual little bursts of energy.  I think that I’m a tiny bit less of a slug than I was a couple of weeks ago.  Bad news is that there’s NO progress with my taste buds.  
A timely query from a cousin gave me a jump start back in my genealogy projects.  I was very into that for a couple of days, but then ran out of energy.  But I’ve got a good start on resuming the things I was working on before all this cancer stuff started.

I had a good meeting with my radiation oncologist.  Side effects from that should be limited to fatigue and skin damage similar to severe sunburn.  I’m so fair that I’ve had more than my share of severe sunburns so I know what it’s like to have blisters & peeling.  Next meeting is a planning meeting on March 18 to set up preparation and schedule.  I’ll get zapped every day Monday through Friday for 6 ½ weeks.  At least it’s only a 10 minute drive from home.

Hair continues to regrow slowly. Very slowly. But at least it’s there. 

With any luck, my brain will continue to clear and I’ll find my energy level increasing.  Come on taste buds!!!!!!