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Surprise! You Have Cancer, Part 7

Hopefully, lucky seven.

Since my last update, a lot has changed, and a lot has stayed the same.

I had my last chemo on December 3rd, 2016. And had a CT scan (not an MRI) done on December 20th.
The CT scan showed a lot of improvement, a lot of shrinkage of the tumors. During my post CT scan consultation on January 3rd, 2017 I was advised that at this point I should try radiation to hopefully finish destroying the remaining 3 large tumors.

I had a consultation with the radiation doctor on January 5th. The consultation went really well and the doctor seemed very confident that the radiation would really help a lot. I was fitted for body cast type contraption that is designed to keep you firmly held so that you do not move during the radiation treatments.

This was a really unique experience. The cast is basically a plastic mattress filled with styrofoam pellets. You lay on this bed, get covered in a sheet of thin pliable plastic and a vacuum is turned on. The experience is a lot like when you get your blood pressure checked. You know how it just keeps getting tighter and tighter? Well imagine that on your whole body from the neck down. While in this position I was marked with 6 temporary tattoos marking the point of entry for the radiation.

The radiation was a breeze compared to chemotherapy. I was scheduled for 3 different sessions due to commence as soon a possible. Just had to wait on the insurance to approve of the plan as drawn up by the radiation doctor. Well this turned into a waiting game. It took the insurance company 6 days to approve the procedures. In the meantime I had to be very careful not to wash off the tattoos.


CT Scan
CT Scan

On the 11th of January I had my first radiation treatment. I was advised to take an anti-anxiety pill an hour before the session. I did. The whole thing was surreal.
It takes about 45 minutes. You are locked down in a vacuum, can't move at all. My nose starts itching, I feel like a bug is crawling on my neck and the vacuum bag is squeezing me so tight I feel like I can't breathe. But I'm high as a kite and I don't care. It's all over before I know it. That's all? That was easy!
Had the same procedure on the 13th, Friday the 13th. But it went without a hitch.

I made a major mistake on the last treatment, on the 20th. I forgot to take my la-la pill. So I was wide awake and fully alert for the whole thing. I think I had a panic attack and it seemed to go on forever. I felt like my bones were being crushed, had the itchiness all over and was generally miserable in every way. NEVER forget to take your la-la pill!

The radiation went exceptionally well. I was really feeling great. This whole thing was easy as pie compared to chemotherapy. But then it hit me, major fatigue, sleepiness, tired all the time, depressed and the neuropathy with joint pain returned full blast.

It is now February 5th. Super Bowl Sunday! I am slowly getting better. Yesterday was a "bad hand day" but today is much better. I was advised by a friend to try an over the counter medicine called Aleve and it really seems to help the joint pain. Nothing does much for the neuropathy, it just has to slowly fade on its own. It's not as bad as it was, but it's still pretty debilitating, about the same for the fatigue.

I have another CT scan scheduled for March 1st. It's waiting time again. We are confident and hoping for the best. Things are really looking brighter now. It seems like I am finally coming out of the dark times.



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Living the good life in Southeast Alabama, father, grandfather, cancer survivor, part-time writer, and webmaster - Read More





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