Monday, May 14, 2007

Monday, May 14th, 2007 - First Radiation Session

Hellooooo Bloggy!

Well, today starts the next phase of the journey... Radiation Therapy! And an interesting part of the journey this should be. The first visit today was very interesting, but then medical machines and contraptions have always interested me. It blows me away that someone, somewhere from an idea ended up developing, over time, these marvels that have done so much for modern medicine.

The way the Radiation Therapy department is set up is they are divided into "Units". A Unit has it's own set of staff, technicians and machines. A patient is assigned to a Unit, so every day of therapy you go to your same unit, hence have the same staff looking after you. I have been assigned to Unit 4 and my radiation team is Hayley, Alex and Rob. All three of them are wonderful... is there anyone at the Cancer Agency who isn't wonderful?? They are friendly, warm, caring and go out of their way to explain what they are doing and why.

So, Alex took me on a little tour of Unit 4 and explained my treatment plan -- 25 sessions of radiation, Mon-Fri for 5 weeks. I will be getting zapped at 3 different angles, although the focus is on one 10 X 12 cm area of the abdominal wall. I get zapped from above, from the left side and from below. The radiation maching is like this big round xray machine that is on a big arm. With that arm, the machine can revolve around me, hence able to get the 3 different angles. The room is pretty high tech with the radiation table in the middle of the room, the radiation machine above the table, then there are 3 or 4 monitors around the room. This is for them to do the settings and set you up for the machine. Once you are set up, you just stay in place and the machine is manipulated from outside the room... where they can see the whole room by monitor and manipulate the machine into the various angles. It really is like being in a sci-fi movie (grin).

In the next couple of days, I'll get some pictures. Hayley said that won't be a problem so I will put them up on Bloggy once I have them :)

After I got my 3 zaps, they had to take some xrays. Again, this is for making sure they have the settings just right. They were going to take the xrays with the radiation machine since I was already in place.

I just got a phone call a few minutes ago. They would like me to come in earlier tomorrow (9am) because the xrays were not clear enough. The reason being, they used the high resolution imaging from the radiation machine but because it's high resolution, the actual xray images are not that clear. So tomorrow I have to get images done with the simulator, which is like a CT Scanner but somewhat different. This should be interesting because I could SWEAR that's what they were going to use last week and couldn't, hence sent me to Surrey to the scanner that they have. I did get my pre-radiation planning scan done in Surrey... now they need to do another one? I'm keeping my fingers crossed that tomorrow morning they don't realize that they need the Surrey simulator, hence make me go out there again.

Anywho... it's too early in the process to have any side affects, if in fact, I have any. Once again, everyone is different. The technician said that I won't notice anything for at least 2 weeks, then if I am going to have any side affects, it will be after 2 weeks, as the radiation accumlates.

I haven't started the oral chemo yet. Originally, I would have started it today, same day we start the radiation. But since I was sooooo sick last week, Dr. Gill made the decision to give me a week's break before starting me on the chemo. This way, I get a couple of days of radiation to see if that upsets my system before introducing my system to oral chemo. If all goes well for Mon-Wed, then I will be starting the oral chemo on Thurs or Friday of this week... which replaces the aggressive IV Chemo. The oral chemo will be much more mild (famous last words) but will work well with the radiation and still keep chemo in my system so that we aren't starting afresh when we go back to the aggressive chemo later in June.

So, I'm feeling good right now. I probably could have had a nap this afternoon, but I got involved with putting together the June 1st Metro Theatre Online Newsletter and the more I can do now means I won't be in a rush at the last minute :)

Now... I guess I should figure out what I'm going to make for dinner tonight :)

Ta ta for now!


Addendum: An article my friend Jay sent is excellent in describing, to a "T" what I mean when I refer to myself as having 'Chemo Brain'. Click on the
Chemo Brain article
to get an idea of what my brain is going through (skip over the car commercial by clicking on "Enter The only difference is my aggressive chemo treatments is for colon cancer, not breast cancer.


Bonnie said...

Lovely tribute to Kim, I just know she is watching over you! It is hard to believe what can happen in 2 years, and while I wouldn't wish cancer on anyone, I am grateful you're getting such good treatment and care. And glad you have the drug supplement, it is amazing how expensive those pills can be! I know my mom had to pay out of pocket for hers, but she said they were worth every penny. So I hope they work as well for you.

Anonymous said...

I was sending positive thoughts your way yesterday and today. I'm so happy you are feeling good.
A good friend of mine just finished 5 wks of radiation therapy last week. Like you said, everyone is different. She had no side affects, except for a tender radiation burn, similar to a sunburn. Good luck!

Hugs, Maryann W.