|Me and my dreamboat|
So here goes: I will receive 4 weeks of radiation therapy to two places in my chest (my left supraclavical? I think, and my mediastinum - where the "bulky" blob remains). Well, really 3 weeks to both areas and an extra week to the blob - to zap the bejeezus out of it. There are a few dates to plan the treatment that require some additional scans, to ensure the precise locations of said blob and another small node that appears resolved in the PET, but should be treated just to make sure. I will begin my 4 consecutive weeks of radiation at the end of November, so will hopefully be done before the start of 2011.
Dr. Herbert recommended waiting a full 3 months from the end of this course to have another PET scan, to give all inflamed tissue time to settle and to truly get a good idea of how successful we are. By that timeline, we're looking at the end of March 2011 to check and see what our SUV levels are and to determine remission.
Possible (HA HA HA) side effects include fatigue (of course), some redness around the areas being treated (I'll be zapped from multiple angles - via IMRT, or Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy, which is an advanced, precisely targeted form of radiation), sore throat (near the end of the 4 weeks) and whatever else I can come up with. I did warn him that I was sensitive and "reactive", but I'm not quite sure he got the full picture. We'll give him some time.
My next planning appointment is this coming Monday (after I go down to my school district's doctor to prove to them I have cancer - I guess I'll just show them my scars and bald head, otherwise I'm not sure if they've got a surgeon lined up to do another biopsy...). I will get scanned (again) and tattooed (3 permanent blue freckles) to ensure I am getting lasered at the same exact points every time. I am loving all of this planning because it allows me to have some idea of what to expect from the next few months. At least if I have to wait for something, I will be prepared and focused, with a goal in mind and an end date on the calendar.
I much enjoyed meeting Dr. Herbert (and his resident, whose blog I am adding to the GOOD LINKS on the sidebar, so be sure to check it out) and I feel a lot more positive today than yesterday. One day at a time, right? The photo at the top is from our visit to the mall after picking Judah up from school. Yes, the fountain is pink. Maybe next September, I'll lobby for them to turn it lime green.