So...I started whole-brain radiation today. Yes indeed, already. Getting Lloyd under control without further ado!! Dr. Radiation Oncologist's office called me yesterday, on a Sunday, at 11:00 am, to tell me that they had completed the radiation plan and were ready to set up an appointment for treatment on Monday, what time would work for me? After sputtering for awhile, I agreed to take the 11:30 appointment. It was a somewhat jarring phone call! Certainly not something I expected after finishing my brunch of egg and mushroom scramble.
The radiation treatment is interesting, albeit a little bit freaky. Here's how it works: I lay on the platform, they put the mask over my face/head and have me scoot around a millimeter at a time until I get positioned just right. Then they move the platform until I'm lined up with some red and green lasers to get the coordinates just right for the treatment, then they take a scan (I think it's a brief CT scan of my head) and tell me that everything has lined up perfectly, and I make a joke about how if I could move the tumor I would have done so a long time ago so of course it's lined up perfectly. Then they re-position my platform for the radiation. My hippocampus-sparing radiation plan includes 9 fields of about 30 seconds each, so the whole thing takes about 20 minutes (after factoring in the time for the re-positioning of the table and equipment between fields). The freaky parts: 1) some of the fields caused me to smell an ozone smell, and 2) some of the fields caused me to see bright, flashing blue light with my eyes closed. If I opened my eyes, I couldn't see the blue light anymore. Super weird! My own personal irradiated brain disco party. Question for B, my bonus mom: Can you explain the blue light thing?
Delightful part of radiation treatment: I was treated by one of the dear nurses who took care of me back in the day of my twice-daily chest wall radiation, and she remembered me. She gave me her arm when she called me from the waiting room, and ceremoniously walked me back to the treatment room. Also, I had forgotten to take off my glasses, so she removed them from my face, and I apologized that she had to touch the dirty things. I hadn't properly washed them since Puerto Rico, and the saltwater splatters made them look rather gross, I'm sure. After treatment, before she handed my glasses back to me, she cleaned them with a proper lens-cleaner towelette. Then she again gave me her elbow to walk back to the waiting room. This is above and beyond! And I'd like to emphasize the power of touch--after a big hug from the spouse, followed by taking the nurse's arm to walk back to the treatment room, I certainly walked a little bit taller and felt a little bit more confident about what I was about to endure.
After radiation treatment I went up to get my blood drawn and have an appointment with Dr. Oncologist. She presented me with all sorts of great results: my bloodwork was perfect, my bone scan was all clear, and my PET scan was all clear! Huzzah huzzah! No cancer in my body below my brain. Huzzah! SO, we are on the correct course of action to control my single pesky tumor (whole-brain radiation) and we'll discuss other Lloyd-control measures after the whole-brain radiation is complete, which will be in 2 weeks--I have treatment every day for 10 business days. 1 day down, 9 to go!
How do I feel now? Mostly fine. I have a headache, and I'm tired, but the magnitude of these things is not that much different from yesterday, for example. My cheeks are kinda hot so I wonder if a fever is coming but I don't feel feverish, and my eyes are very heavy, but let's acknowledge that this was an EPIC day where I had to be all three of my selves (mom-scientist-patient) for at least a few hours each, so it's hard to blame any of these symptoms exclusively on whole-brain radiation. And yes the part where I was a patient was stressful and hard and seemed to last forever!
My simultaneous tiredness + the need to update my loved ones (you) inspired a new thing, which is blogging from bed. Thanks to the family elves I now have extra pillows on my bed for proper propping, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I will definitely not make a habit of this! I think it would be better and more comfortable and more efficient to simply own the fact that I need to blog/type and then sit in a proper chair with a proper table or lapboard. This blogging-in-bed thing confuses the two tasks of writing and resting. And the slow, slipping slouch is a real problem! I don't know how the laptop-in-bed people do it!
Time to be done with the blogging and phase-switch into sleeping. Goodnight! Be well! Oh, and it looks like technology is working so I'll leave you with a Puerto Rico picture. Sigh. Those were the days! ;)
|The Allens on Condado Beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Nov. 2018.|