Apr 13, 2009 - 4:28 pm
I met with my radiation oncologist today for the first time since right after my surgery. You may remember that initially I thought we would be doing my radiation first after the surgery, but instead they wanted to do all of the chemo 1st, since at Stage 3, UPSC is just as likely or even more likely to recur at a distant location as it is to recur locally. I had my last chemo March 26th and learned today that it will be at least 2 or 3 weeks before I can start radiation, as my blood counts need to climb before I can start. (My platelets are at 55 and he wants them to be 100). Meanwhile I have to have one of THEIR CT-scans (the CT-scan I had on Friday doesn’t count for this; this one has to be done on the radiation table and is not diagnostic but rather a part of the simulation to customize the radiation to my ‘innards’.) That’s scheduled for this next Thursday morning.
The radiation oncologist (Dr.Yuman) said I was to NOT worry about this, but the CT-scan doctor noted a super-tiny 2.7 mm nodule on my left lung on Friday’s CT-scan. Dr. Yuman said this was just a ‘cover-your-as$’ CT-note, as there is no way that little dark mark looks any different than any of the other perfectly normal dark marks on my lung CT-scan, and is WAY too small to even qualify for a PET-scan to verify it. He seemed genuinely angry to see that note on my CT-scan and showed me the slides himself so I could see how exactly the same the ‘noted’ mark looked as all the other normal marks. He said this is the kind of thing that worries patients unnecessarily and is nothing he can even do anything about, test-wise. So I will do my best not to worry, as there is nothing I can do anyway. Luckily, I’m not a worrier by nature. But I wanted to be posting about 'dancing with NED'.
My radiation, once scheduled, will be 5 days a week for 25 to 28 rounds, followed by the 3 sessions of internal radiation. Dr. Yuman quieted a lot of my worries. Based on my internet research, I asked if I would be having the '4-beam’ radiation, less damaging than a single beam. He laughed and said they no longer use 4 beam radiation at Geisinger, and the newer technology is Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, which is over 20 beams and MUCH less damaging. I asked if they would be using a shield for my small bowel, but he said that this was also no longer done with his newer equipment as they are able to target the area so much better now that the bowel doesn’t need shielding. He also quieted my fear about bone loss, saying they try very hard to not radiate bones during this targeted treatment. They will be giving me a special low-fiber diet to follow during radiation to help with the possible diarrhea; and an ointment for the skin;…and of course, the vaginal dilator (ugh!) to help prevent vaginal adhesions and narrowing. He said, although the vaginal side effects are very common, the more serious side effects (bowel obstructions, bladder problems) happen only about 5% of the time. I need to do this, as it gives me my best chance for a cure.
Easter was a nice day, quiet. I cleaned the house in the morning and then made a ham and cheesy hash-browns for Easter dinner. My son, the grandkids, and Vic's daughter came for dinner. Dinner at 2 and everyone gone by 3:30. The grandkids slept over Friday night and we colored Easter eggs and played with the new bunny. Saturday morning we made cinnamon rolls and took them along with some of their Easter eggs and some chocolate candy in an Easter basket and went and visited their great-grandma (my ex-mother-in-law). I was happy to have had some quality time with the grandkids. Each day since chemo ended I feel a little stronger and more myself.