Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Radiation #20 out of 33: Segway

Me in the waiting room at Radiation
I need to correct something I said on my last post about the “Bolus” treatment.  It’s still a bit unclear, and I should probably be more diligent about clarification, but part of me likes my recent method of ignoring this portion of the treatment.  Anyway, apparently, what I was doing before this current phase of the radiation WAS the bolus.  They were putting a ¾ inch rubber pad on my chest over the radiated area for about ½ of the zaps.  I believe it was that rubber that made me feel the weird menthol cigarette feeling in my lungs and throat because I’m not feeling it now. The Radiation oncologist mentioned that the rubber pad brought the treatment closer to the skin because it added thickness.  So, now, they’ve removed the pad and they are doing a very similar treatment without the pad.  (You know, I lay down on the bench in my mold, they line me up with the tatts then the giant “C” arm moves around and zaps me from different angles.  First zap 17 seconds, etc. ) Apparently without the safety of the rubber pad, it is a bit MORE intense. So, what they were doing the day of my last post was setting me up for the narrowed treatment around the scar which will begin basically once the skin everywhere else can no longer handle the radiation, and it needs a break.  So, they’ve calculated the tangents and set up a different machine to complete this narrowed treatment, but it will happen only when, or if, the rest of the skin can no longer handle this intense treatment.  The radiation tech said that the best case scenario is that they can complete this intense treatment throughout the remainder of the treatments and not have to do the narrowed treatment/not have to give the rest of the skin a break.  It often gets very confusing for me because they will say the skin looks very “good”.  Sometimes they mean it is nice and red/burnt like they like it, and sometimes they mean that it looks good/it looks healthy…it can handle more.  Maybe tomorrow I will ask what will happen at the end if the skin never gets as red as they want.  I remember reading my online friend Heather’s blog that said they made her do extra treatments at the end.  I hope this is not the plan for me.  If so, maybe I need to be less diligent about my skin care.

Overall I’m still having some good days and then some days of severe fatigue. My blood counts have gone down since the last 3 week Herceptin chemo due to the radiation.   I’m stretching my arm diligently, and I’m seeing some improvement, however it is still very tight. Now there is some pain in the area of the radiation deep and superficially.  I did enjoy my short Cancer Holiday. It gave me a small window into the not so distant future of what it might be like to have a life without cancer or cancer treatment.  
Here I am in the shade laying out by our pool.

Here i am sporting my radiation tan, and...can you tell which one is real? Guys can't.

I tagged along with Richie to the Mall one day, and, as I was making fun of the Mall Cop on her Segway, (picturing myself taking a random item off of a shelf right in front of her, and walking very slowly away as the cop was chasing me…. me encouraging her to “maybe lean into it a bit”, etc….) it got me thinking about Segues in general, and how Segue between events seems to be quite important to me.  *YOU KNOW I WISH I HAD a PHOTO of ME on a SEGWAY!!!   I thought my “Words With Friends” rally was a genius segue between Chemo and Surgery. (Still playing, by the way. Powerhowell) Now, I’m thinking, a 50 mile trail run between radiation and the next surgery/reconstruction.   

But, what about a segue between writing a blog about cancer into writing about something else? Will I continue to blog or write?  About what?   Trail running?  Maybe.  Hmm….. “Homely” (“Trail Runner”) cancer survivor jogs really slowly for a really long time, over dirt and rocks.  Enjoys every step.   I kinda like it.
Oh yea, Ellen has not contacted me yet.  I thougt it was very cool , however, that in a recent email from my cousin (who just graduated from Medical School-Congratulations again Brayden!) he asked me if i knew about when I would hear back from Ellen.  I'm thinking maybe by the end of next week. :).   It probably wouldn't hurt though, if a few more of  you reminded her by posting a link to this blog on her The Ellen Degeneres SHOW facebook PAGE.  It's the one with over 5 million "likes".   I'll let you know if i hear anything!

1 comment:

  1. 50 miles, GEEZ PowerHOWELL, I am glad you just don't change! For me not having to deal with any radiation or chemo, SO FAR!- hopefully ever, will be happy to get an 8-10 miler in. 50 *&^*%&##^* miles... You go for it, POWER. I'll ring the bell!