Today marked my 7th radiation treatment and was by far the most frustrating of days, even though I'm feeling pretty good.
The first treatment took a bit longer than normal as they worked to get my positioning just right and the marks on my body re-done to accurately reflect my final treatment plan. My doctor, a physics teams and a dosimetry team all worked together to design a 3-D radiation plan that allows stronger doses of radiation to some parts and lower doses to others. This machine will spare as much of my healthy tissue and healthy organs as possible and still reach the cancer and other high threat areas, such as the lymph nodes in my upper legs ands the rectal area. The radiation is called Rapidarc. We will drive about 45 minutes each way every week day to be able to utilize this machine, but we are happy to do it if it will be the best plan for me short and long term.
Last week I was juggling a lot of hours at work and in the middle of having my first four treatments I had management in town to transition from an old boss to a new boss, hire a new employee and have an important buyer meeting. I found that I was on the phone for work right up until I walked into treatment and afterwards I was back at the office until 7:30 pm two nights in a row. It felt surreal as I had to stop a buyer presentation to excuse myself and hand the rest of the meeting over to my VPs so I could race to my 2nd day of treatment. In some ways busyness can be a curse, but in others it is a blessing. I frankly had no time to think about what I was going through as it was just the next thing on my calendar. It helped me get through those first days, but by day three I was in bed at 6:30 pm and didn't awake until my alarm at 6:30 the next morning.
Symptoms were present last week, but minimal. The doctor said many people smell something with radiation, but I tasted it as a metal-like flavor. Quickly after the taste would come I would feel nauseated or have stomach discomfort. Friday night and Saturday I was sick for about 2 1/2 hours after a meal, but by Sunday afternoon and Monday morning I was back to myself. It was a great feeling and this week I've done very well with treatment and not been as fatigued.
So, why was today frustrating? Well, I had an appointment for radiation at 12:30 and at 1:20 they told me to go on to my chemo appt and come back. Billy and I sat in the chemo office for 2 hours to see the doctor for 10 minutes and have a 10 minute chemo orientation. Then it was back to the radiation office where we finally were finished by 4:45. A long day and it seemed we didn't accomplish too much. We did learn that we will always take a book or download a movie before we go to any appointment. Today should have been the quickest day and lasted for over four hours.
Tomorrow I am to have radiation at 10:15am and then have my first chemo treatment at 12:00 pm. The chemo treatment should be about 4 hours if all goes well. I'm counting on it!