Yesterday was my last planning appointment prior to starting my radiation treatments (for some reason, I have an aversion to calling it “therapy”). They fitted me for my targeting mask and pillow, neither of which are as comfortable as they may sound. The mask is a resin mesh that was heated and formed to the contour of my face. It also has a mouthpiece to position my jaw. The pillow is made out of some type of hardening foam that was contoured to the shape of the back of my head and neck. Both of these are bolted to the table and ensure that my head is positioned in exactly the same position for every treatment.
These are not mine, but give you an idea of what I’m talking about:
I’ve never been claustrophobic, but the mask gave me a few moments of concern when they first pulled it over my face. After fitting me for all that, they performed a CT scan and sent me on my way.
Today, I got a followup call from the oncology office. They are finally ready to start treatments next week. So what is hopefully the last procedural phase of this ordeal begins Monday at noon. I will be having a total of 32-34 treatments (to be determined by the oncologist by Monday). These will be administered 5 days a week, for 6 1/2 weeks. The logistics promise to be as exhausting as the treatments. I will be driving 45 minutes (one way) every week day for over 6 weeks and paying $3 to park each visit, all for a 10 minute procedure. The last piece to the puzzle is getting a time slot early enough in the afternoon each day that will allow me to work in the mornings, get to my treatments in the afternoon, and get out of Charleston ahead of the rush hour traffic, which could add another 30 minutes to my drive home every day.
The good news is, I am finally getting this thing started. That gets me one step closer to getting it over with, and on the road to recovery. Everyone I have talked to (doctors, nurses & friends who have gone through this) are telling me the same thing: the first two weeks are pretty uneventful, the second two weeks are fairly tough, and the last two weeks are miserable. The most likely side effects for me are fatigue, difficulty eating, and skin irritation on my face and neck. One of my favorite sayings is, “Plan for the worst, and hope for the best.” That is exactly what I am doing in this situation. I am praying / believing that I will come through this as I have the other portions of this adventure, better than expected. I credit that in large part to your faithful prayers and encouragement, which I am shamelessly asking you for yet again. I know with your prayers and support, I’ll get through this!
While were on the subject of prayer, I would also appreciate your prayers for my wife, Tania. She will be having surgery at MUSC this Friday. Although it is day surgery, it will be about a five hour procedure to revise some significant scarring from a previous surgery as well as performing a procedure to hopefully reduce or eliminate her migraine headaches. We were told to expect 3-4 weeks for full recovery and are praying everything goes better than that with the overlap with my radiation treatments. Again, thanks for your prayers!
One last thing…a little positive motivation for you all today.
Relentless. Forward. Progress.