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Radiation.. and the NEW plan

Posted Aug 10 2009 4:32pm
I'm rushed to get some stuff up here so this is a half-finished blog from a week or so ago...

Today I went to my radiation appointment to get scans taken and to prep for the real deal.
The first step of this appointment was to prepare a cast for treatments. In other words, the techs had to find the exact position that they would need me to be placed so that the beams would be on target. Since I would be going everyday for treatment, I would need to be able to lay in the exact same position every time. So to accomplish this, they had me lay on the table with my legs over this thin blue mat. Then, they filled the mat with two chemicals, which when combined formed a foam that surrounded my legs. This process took about 10 minutes and was quite pleasant because the chemicals were very warm. After 10 the foam was hardened enough to make a nice little leg-shaped trough. I asked why they only wanted to make a leg cast, since it was my pelvis that would be irradiated; the tech explained that keeping my legs still would stabilize my pelvis, and other barriers would keep me from turning. Little did I know that they other, more permanent plans to keep my pelvis in place. In addition to the leg cast, they used lasers in a cross-pattern to ensure alignment. So to make the points where the lasers would intersect they used tattoo. That's right, tattoo. I have 5 very small black dots permanently inked into my skin- 3 in a line on my torso, lower abdomen, and above the pubic bone; 2 to the right and left of my navel. Not what I was expecting for that second tattoo. I know I will NEVER get another tattoo on or anywhere near my pubic bone again! I remember I asked the tech if he could just make a little design or something, but he told me no- his forte was circles. Oh well, worth a shot. Anyways, each time I was to come in for a treatment, the techs could now line up these lasers with my tattoos and know exactly where to irradiate.

The rest of the appointment was about 45 minutes of CT scans. Just me laying on this table half-naked while this massive xray machine took pictures from side to side and from up top. My arms were above my head and my circulation was starting to get cut-off... very uncomfortable. But finally I was done and ready to meet with my lovely radiation oncologist. Apparently he is the only gynecological radiation oncologist in the area. Well, he told me that he and my gynonc had a new plan for me. This one I wasn't expecting at all. Instead of doing radiation for 5 weeks on both sides of my pelvic lymph nodes, he thought it would be just as effective to only do the right side- where the original tumors were- as well as the para-aortic nodes (the spot near my two large abdominal blood vessels where some of the tumors had spread). He reasoning was that this way would greatly reduce the amount of radiation my uterus would be exposed to. Of course, I liked this idea a great deal. However, he said that he had discussed with my gynonc that the treatments would be most effective if combine with low-dose chemotherapy with Taxol as well. The plan was, then, to do 5 wks of radiation (M-F) and chemotherapy once a week (M) for 5 wks. Basically a double whammy of treatments for 5 whole weeks. As crappy as this sounds, the combo plan has shown success in lengthening remission times, and is the best way to protect my uterus. So there it is. This is my next 5 weeks....

More to follow soon!!!
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