Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Note from the Editor

Yesterday was Radiation Day 2 (of 20).  Once each week I meet with my doctors after treatment to discuss any issues or side effects I might have from the rads.  During our Day 2 meeting, it was called to my attention that I am not receiving IMRT, which I wrote about before (Hi Dr. H and Dr. F if you're reading this!!).  Between our first consultation and the start of my treatment on Monday, the doctors reviewed multiple plans for me.  They decided that the best course of action would be to use Conformal 3-D radiation, which shoots beams (in the shape of the mass) at the front and the back of the tumor. 

This is different from IMRT, which shoots beams at the tumor from many different angles, and thus, puts more healthy tissue at risk for a second malignancy many years from now.  The doctors explained that if my type of tumor appeared in an 80 year old, they would use IMRT to zap it, because having a second malignancy when you 100 (if you make it that far) is not quite so bad as having to go through this all over again at age 50.  But since the odds are in my favor (although things don't seem so favorable at the moment), I agreed that the type of radiation they chose sounded like the better choice overall and promised to correct myself on here.  Accuracy counts.

Aside from treatment, yesterday was a busy day.  I took the train into center city for a (much needed) therapy appointment first thing.  Not long after I arrived, the fire alarm in the building went off.  We ignored it for a while (my therapist said someone would knock if we really needed to get out), but by the fifth time, it seemed prudent for us to leave the building.  Fortunately, on our way out, we discovered that workers were fixing the system and it was okay to stay (if you could concentrate with the bells going off).  So, back into her office we went, where her phone rang twice, I received my own call (the contractor) and texts...  Needless to say, it was not the most fluid of sessions.

However, I did stumble upon why the radiation experience is so disturbing and upsetting for me.  I compared it to chemo, where your family and friends can sit with you, there are many nurses bustling around, people everywhere (albeit other sick people).  Radiation is the complete opposite.  You are in a sterile room, alone for your treatment.  The only thing to take your mind off of what's happening is the music playing (and lucky for me - it's holiday, holiday and more holiday for the month of December).  The good news is that on days when you don't have x-rays taken, the whole thing (from locker room to valet car pickup) takes less than 15 minutes.  The length of time makes up for the bizarre nature of the whole experience.  And I definitely felt better after having seen the doctors yesterday.  I realize bedside manner isn't important to all patients, but for me, having doctors who smile and talk to you like a real person is essential. 

I came home from the hospital last night and proceeded to make dinner for the first time in many, many months.  Our kitchenware is largely still packed in boxes in the basement, but I managed to find a pot and a few pans to make some TJ's apple chicken sausage, balsamic brussels sprouts and a fluffy rice pilaf.  It was tasty, everyone ate, and I give myself points for getting the job done, even though I was pretty tired.  After an early bath and bedtime for Judah, it was early to bed for me as well.  I was asleep by 9:02 and since I TiVoed Glee, will have some catching up to do tonight (I still have last week's episode to watch). 

Posted below you will find current photos of our kitchen.  Today the drawers and shelves are going in (as I type) and hopefully (fingers crossed) we will have a new window in (and some new cabinet doors??) by the end of the week.  I am really looking forward to putting things away!

Still on the kitchen agenda:  painting, new lighting fixture over the sink, magnetic knife strip, hanging bars for pots and pans, secure granite windowsills and install molding. 

Happy Hanukkah!  May your latkes be crispy and your sufganiot be sweet.


1 comment:

  1. You are so very right about the benefit of
    a hand and a smile from the Doctor.
    Thanks for telling about it, Mia.
    Happy Hanukah!
    with Love, GG and Uncle