Brachytherapy or High Dose Radiation

Yesterday was a long long day. We got to the hospital nearly an hour early because we weren’t sure what traffic was going to be like, so I had to wait an hour before Laura even called me back. Then, once I was back and changed, I had to wait again. I met yet another resident (Dr. Engleman – who is also 12 years old I think) and he went over the procedure. He made it sound like some kind of weird horror film. Then Dr. Sharma came in and went over it again.

I was taken back to the CT room and laid on the table. They inserted a catheter (ouch) and then they went about inserting the radiation delivery devise. Awkward! Once it was in, they had to put on a jock strap to keep it in place, and I was not allowed to move until I was done with treatment. They did the scan, made an adjustment, and then I was transferred on a gurney to the nurses station to wait until they had my mapping done – probably about an hour or so? I had brought a book along, so it wasn’t so bad. Everyone, however, was amused at my book – Jonathan Kellerman’s Dr. Death. Hehehe.

Finally they took me back to the radiation room and got me lined up. At this point, I had a headache from laying on my back so long and my legs hurt from not being able to move them. I had no idea how long I had really been back there. About 10 minutes later, Dr. Chen (they physicyst) came in to scan me and make sure I wasn’t already radioactive (huh?) and they got around to it. They hooked up the device, and the treatment itself took less than 10 minutes. I was finally allowed to get up and move.

We ended up leaving at 1pm. Which means I was back there 4.5 hours. And I paid for it. I had a migraine, and I am getting a cold, so I was a miserable bitch by the time we got home. I curled up on the bed and went to sleep until 5pm. Then I got up, forced down some dinner, and was back in bed by 6:30. They assure me the next one won’t take as long – no mapping. I hope not.

But one down, two to go. And then three more chemo. Thank heaven’s I’m nearly done with this shit.

Six Treatments Left

I hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful holiday yesterday.  Ours was quiet and pleasant and relaxing and I enjoyed spending the day with my Mom.  I did feel some guilt every time someone referred to my cancer and preceded it by “It doesn’t matter what you got me for Christmas this year, as long as you are still here.”  Sigh.

Today I begin prep for tomorrow’s brachytherapy, otherwise known as internal radiation.  I have one session tomorrow, one New Year’s, and the final one will be on the 3rd.  I have been assured that the treatment isn’t as bad as the prep.  It’s the same prep that you take for a colonoscopy, so in about 10 minutes, I have to choke down my first dose of Magnesium Citrate.  The worst part (other than that) will be the liquid diet today, and the note being able to move for up to four hours while they administer treatments.

After I complete this internal radiation, I begin my final three rounds of chemo on January 14th.  Just as my hair is finally starting to come back in nicely, it will be probably falling out again.  Winter in the mid-atlantic is not a time to have no hair.  Sigh.

I want to be at the end of this treatment, and I really want to put this behind me and get to the  business of maintaining a cancer free life.

And I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I just hope it isn’t an on-coming train.

Breaks Are A Wonderful Thing

I am finally starting to feel better from radiation.  The cystitis is receeding (although I still have to PEE ALL THE TIME) and I’m not nearly as nauseated as I was.  It’s been nice.

I start internal radiation two days after Christmas, and finish it on the 3rd.  Three appointments.  Then chemo starts again on the 14th.  Bring it.  I’m ready to be done.

Best part of the break is that I’ve been able to enjoy the holidays some.

And that, my friends, has been wonderful.

The Holidays

Christmas is usually a big rush of running around for me.  Shopping, baking, knitting, crafting, etc.  It’s always a whirlwind of activity.  And although I complain every year about it, I deep down secretly enjoy it.  I love being able to make things for people that are conceived in love with my heart.  Picking just the right thing.

But this  year, well, this year has been hard.  I’ve no energy (thanks radiation) and I quite honestly going to the bathroom all the time.  But I did get our Christmas shopping done (I need to send a gift to my mother-in-law, but that’s always cash).  I didn’t buy as much, or make as much, and I sure as heck haven’t baked much this year, but for some reason, the Christmas spirit if kind of strong.

Perhaps it is because I’m alive.  I’m here.  I can watch my grandbabies share another Christmas with me.  And that is really, deep down, the true spirit of Christmas, is it not?

We don’t have huge plans.  Tonight, we are going to bundle up and pack up the dog and take a ride to look at Christmas lights (something we’ve done every year).  I may bake some snickerdoodles and some chocolate chip cookies, but nothing more than that today.  I’m wrapping the presents we did buy.  Next weekend we are going to my step-daughter’s.  We bought Brae’s big gift this year and she can’t wait for us to give it to her.  A rainbow unicorn dreamlite.  Oh boy.  I can’t wait to snuggle my baby girls in my arms and give them much love and kisses.

Christmas eve we are heading to my Mom’s to spend the night.  Christmas day is first and formost my mother’s birthday.  She’s going to be 76 this year.  How did that happen?  When did my mom get old?  I plan on giving her a special day – homemade biscuits for breakfast and shrimp and lobster for dinner.  She deserves it – this year has been hard for her.

Sometime I hope to see my other step-daughter Kelly while we’re off.  They live in Indiana.  I’m hoping they come out and we can spend some time with them.

A quiet year to end what has been quite a year.

But I’m alive, and I am surrounded by my loved ones.  And that, my friends, is what Christmas is all about.

Happy holidays to you and yours.  May God bless and keep you on your journey.

Moving Right Along

Today is my last day of external radiation.  YAYAYAYAYAY!!  But, I will admit, I’m not excited about it.  In fact, I even told Dr. Sharma yesterday that I wasn’t excited.  He kind of looked at me funny, but I told him honestly, I wouldn’t be excited until my last day of chemo.  So, February 25th will be an exciting day.

I also finally got scheduled for my internal radiation.  They start two days after Christmas and end January 3.  Bring it.

Good news, though, is that in July, both of my oncologists will be moving close to us!  Yayay!  No more trips to Baltimore!

And now, I gotta go to work – so it’s a quick check in!