We are in Denver now, preparing to begin treatment this week. Yesterday’s meetings with the lead oncologist, who is a very knowledgeable, kind, and gentle man, and the radiological oncologist, who is a very bright, efficient, and no-nonsense type of woman (which I appreciate), had a good news/bad news theme. The good news, which is the best news of all, is that this treatment has a 70-80% cure rate–awesome! The radiation doctor had at the job of telling me in gruesome detail some of the short term and long term side affects of the treatment, though (the bad news). She was very thorough and graphic and when she was done with me I felt poleaxed– a good southern term that describes a state of extreme shock that makes you appear stunned and often involves crossed eyes for an hour or more. Poleaxed people usually need to be led around until they recover! If this ever happens to you, I recommend a cosmopolitan in a very classy bar–it did wonders for me.
So Monday morning I get a “port” put in for chemo. It is something put under the skin, under my clavicle, that they can plug the chemo pump in and out of so I don’t have to have an IV 24/7. The pump is something I will carry around and I hear it is the size of a video tape. I can’t quite picture this, so I’ll know more on Monday, I guess. Chemo is two weeks out of the six continual weeks of radiation, spaced out. Week 1 and week 3 or 4, but sometimes you need a break because those grisly side affects get to be too much to handle. But a break just delays things. I also got 3 tattoos yesterday– guides for the boundaries of the radiation area, and that really hurt. I don’t know how these kids can stand that pain for a big tattoo. OUCH! But now I am a little more “cool”, I suppose, although these tattoos will NOT be shown to anyone I know– only 15 or 20 strangers who work in the radiology department will see them.
One final note: Just when I thought I was done, a radiation tech came in with a camera to take pictures of the radiation area on me. At first I thought it was a joke–if I hadn’t been poleaxed I would have broken her wrist, if necessary, to get the camera away from her. As it was, I could only say two things to her. First, “you must be kidding…” and second, “I better not see those on the internet.”
I can hardly wait until Monday.