Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Absolutely Radiant? - Well No, Not Really

Well, I'm finally in the home stretch. This first phase consists of 28 treatments of combined chemo and radiation therapy sessions.  After that, I will meet with my surgeon, Dr. Schaffzin to schedule the operation where he will remove the tumor. In the meantime the tumor will continue to shrink. After it's been shrunk to a manageable size, it will be removed - along with part of my rectum on either side of the cancerous section. Then part of my colon will be attached to replace the missing anal real estate.

L - R Kristine, Melanie and Carrie
Friday will be my last day of chemo and Monday, July 14th is my final radiation visit. I told you about the chemo in my last blog, so now, I think it's time I give a nod to the Radiation Department. Thanks to the great staff in Radiology at St. Mary's Medical Center, my treatments were nowhere near as uncomfortable and humiliating as they could have been. In fact, I actually look forward to exposing my full moon to the attractive radiologists on duty. Every one of them is good natured, has a great sense of humor and they're all extremely competent in their field. 

On the first day, they had me lie down on this surface that
Selfie with my Ray-Girlz
reminds me of a massage table. You put your face into a space with blue vinyl trim and there's also a vinyl trimmed crater where you're belly is supposed to fit. However, since I had lost so much weight, my gut doesn't touch the bottom of it, so their's really no support. This causes some discomfort, because now my spine is arched in an unnatural position. Eventually, I got used to it, and fortunately, I never experienced any severe side effects from the radiation, so lying in that position turned out to be the worst of it.

Last week someone brought in a therapy dog. Theoretically, these dogs are supposed to cheer people up and have a healing effect on the patients. Unfortunately, this one was just plain fugly. And the owner looked just like him, except he
Charlie - I think.
wore a beat up cowboy hat and worn-out clothes. Actually, the dog was very gentle, but I think he was a little bored from being petted and fawned over all morning by so many people.

I think his name was Charlie. Or maybe that was the owner's name. I forget… hmmm, maybe there are side effects. Nah, I think it's just my age.

Oh yeah, and there's always a basket full of snacks, and it's usually filled with junk food containing plenty of salt and sugar; stuff like Lorna Dunes, Fig Newtons and sandwich cookies. There's also a mini fridge stocked with bottled water and soda. Lots of  cola and Mountain Dew So while they're treating you for cancer, they can set you up bring you back a little later to treat you for diabetes. Hey, a hospital has to stay in business somehow, right?