(Near – Hopefully)-Future Radiation Therapy

New Form of Radiation Therapy Has No Side Effects

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Schedule: Week of November 19-21, 2012

Monday [Radiation Therapy – Day 16]:

7:10am-8:05am Drive from Home to RTher
8:05am-8:15am Waiting for RTher
8:15am-8:25am RTher
8:25am-8:40am Waiting for appointment with ROnc
8:40am-9:00am Appointment with ROnc
9:00am-10:00am PTher
10:00am-10:10am Post RTher-ablutions [in other words spreading boob goop]

[Yes, you are reading correctly – I had radiation therapy, a doctor’s visit And physical therapy, All Before going to work. :)]

10:10am-10:25am Drive from RTher to Work
10:30am-1:15pm Work
1:15pm-2:15pm Lunch

[I’m pretty sad about this Hostess thing – not only because I’m tired of upper management in companies being greedy, bankrupting their companies in the first place, And Then blaming it on the workers who put all that stolen money in their pockets!  And Then of course, a world without Twinkies and Ding Dongs would make me sad.  Are they healthy to eat?  No.  Is it okay to eat them once in a while?  Yes, I think it is.  Are they a reminder of my childhood I would be sorry to see disappear from the earth?  Yes again.

It has been said (most likely correctly) that another company will buy up the assets of the company (the brands and their accompanying product recipes – at least where the Hostess brand is concerned), so that these bad-for-you but occasionally good-for-your-nostalgic-soul-and-sweet-tooth cakes may indeed survive their original maker’s demise.  Just in case they Don’t get sold and survive, I was going on a hunt for ’em in my local neighborhood – namely my closest (within 5 miles or so of work) Hostess Outlet.

Long unnecessary story shorter than it could be – I came away with two bags of powdered sugar Donettes, but there were no Twinkies or Ding Dongs to be had at all in the outlet (good thing I have a box of each coming from Amazon – let’s not talk price – we definitely achieved the ‘silly’ level, but Did manage to stop short of ‘crazy,’ ‘ridiculous,’ and my personal favorite ‘batshit insane.’)  I’m low on time and energy in general these days (and interest too – a touch of depression anyone?  Yeah, I’m being treated for that – it’s cool.), but I’m thinking that was a lunch hour well-spent.]

2:15pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-5:45pm Drive from Work to Acupuncture
5:50pm-6:05pm Get blood drawn for lab work

[Please see “Seriously, this Woman Knows Her Way Around a Vein – I’m Naming Names Again.”]

6:05pm-7:00pm Acupuncture
7:00pm-7:45pm Drive from Acupuncture to Home

[Including a quick drive-through of a pharmacy to drop off the Rx for pain meds I was grudgingly given this morning.]

Tuesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 17]:

Hm, I completely did Not (obviously) keep track of this day, and since this is actually being posted Monday November 26, 2012, I’m gonna let this one go…

Wednesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 18]:

[Otherwise known as (effectively) Friday this week, with Thursday and Friday off from work.  :)]

7:05am-8:00am Drive from Home to RTher
8:05am-8:15am RTher
8:15am-8:20am Post-RTher ablutions
8:20am-8:35am Chatting with “Georgia” at the main lobby reception desk at the RTher facility
8:35am-8:45am Driving from RTher to Work
8:45am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-1:30pm Lunch

[On days before holiday weekends, my company intends to close early.  To that end we’re asked to take short lunches.]

1:30pm-3:00pm Work

[Yup, we did close.  Yay!  (You see, I work in a fairly small shop, and the policy is ‘we all go or we all stay,’ so work that has be done by any one of a handful of us can scuttle an early day for all of us.  I’ve been both the scuttler and a victim of someone else’s scuttling in the past – but not today!)]

3:00pm-4:15pm Drive from Work to Home

Additional Tasks Accomplished This Week:

– blogged
– RSVP’d to two Thanksgiving Dinner invitations – one yes and one no
– indulged my returning knitting habit by buying more yarn for the stash (yeah, I know but it’s a thing with us crafters)
– that’s about it – it was a short week, ya know?

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Schedule: Week of November 12-16, 2012

Monday [Radiation Therapy – Day 11]:

7:00am-8:00am Drive from Home to RTher

[With 1 stop @ Starbucks because it’s Veteran’s Day (which I don’t get off from work), so traffic is holiday-light, so I got nearly to RTher by 7:40am and stopped to get myself a treat (yeah, I know, quit counting, k?) on the way for no other reason than I had time.]

8:05am-8:15am RTher
8:15am-8:30am Appointment with ROnc
8:30am-9:05am PTher
9:10am-9:25am Drive from PTher to Work
9:30am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:30pm Lunch
2:30pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:35pm Drive from Work to Home

Tuesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 12]:

7:08am-8:15am Drive from Home to RTher
8:25am-8:35am RTher
8:40am-9:05am Post-RTher ablutions

[Walked back into the female changing room after RTher and found one of the private rooms open, with my new friend “Dana” doing her post-RTher ablutions, so I slipped into the room with her (so we could share the mirror) and proceeded to chat and do our stuff together – sharing with each other what we’re each using and having a lovely time actually.  As wonderful as my entire support system is (And They Are!), there is something incredibly freeing and relaxing about being around someone (even if, to other people, they would seem a stranger) who is going through what you are – there is an instant intimacy and community like no other.  So we slathered boob goop on ourselves and chatted, I shared this blog and my contact details with her.  She said she’d read my blog and gimme a call to give me her contact info.  I hope she does – I had to get to work and she had to get upstairs for something so we couldn’t talk for but a few minutes – but I really like her.  So “Dana,” if you’re reading this like you said you were gonna, gimme a call.  :)]

9:10am-9:25am Drive from RTher to Work

[With 1 stop to put gas in the car]

9:30am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:45pm Lunch

[No good deed goes unpunished.  I had 3 sweaters I had bought and after getting them home decided they didn’t fit well enough to keep.  Every year my company finds a family who doesn’t have all of what they need and helps them out.  One of the things this year’s family asked for was food.  I figured I’d take the sweaters back and use that money to buy food for this year’s family.  I can do that in an hour, right?  Wrong.

So after daring to take a few minutes this morning to talk to someone who, more than almost anybody else in My world right now, knows Exactly what I’m going through, I’m all of a sudden (with yesterday’s PTher) an hour down on work time this week.  And now after doing my good deed (despite giving myself an out not to do Anything for Anyone this year – oh, and I’m sticking by that for my own family – won’t they be surprised?), I’m an hour and 15 minutes down on work time.

So much for a foot massage Friday at lunch, eh?]

2:45pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Support Group
7:00-8:35pm Support Group
8:35pm-9:15pm Drive from Support Group to Home

Wednesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 13]:

7:05am-8:20am Drive from Home to RTher
8:30am-8:45am Drive from RTher to Work

[Wait, aren’t we missing an entry in there?  Yes, yes we are.  As it turns out the entire computer system for the hospital, and by extension, the Cancer Center went down at 4:30am this morning.  It still wasn’t up when I walked in for RTher this morning, and of course since the medical records are all electronic, they couldn’t even call me to save me driving an hour an 15 minutes for nothing.

And if the system comes up, it takes at least 45 minutes for the machine to warm up, Then they have to go through their daily calibration (or whatever they call it), so who knows if I’m getting my treatment today or not.  So I was originally going to have my last treatment on December 12th, but since my facility is closed on Thanksgiving and the day after, we’re now taking two days on the end of my treatment.  And if I don’t get treatment today, then we’ll add this day onto the end of my treatment.  And then if I (yes, I, not my doctors, it’s not there body – I’m going to get two of their opinions and then make the decision myself) decide not to have the Boost at the end, then that adds another 7 treatments or so on the end, so I’ll be lucky to be done with this by Christmas.

And I have no idea when they’ll be able to treat me today, which means as much energy as I’ve put into making this as easy on my employer as possible, I now have to tell them I need to wait by the phone and bail on them immediately if it rings.  They’ll understand, but it pisses me off.  I simply Do Not have time in my day for it to get rearranged like this.  Please see Rule #3.

Happy Hump Day!]

 8:45am-1:00pm Work

[Got a call at 9:15am from one of my guys.  Apparently the machine is back up and he wants to know if I want to come in for my treatment today.  I ask him when.  He says he has 1:15pm, 1:30pm . . . I take the 1:15 spot, since that actually does Not need an announcement at work – I’ll just take my usual lunch hour and use it to go get treatment instead of…

…what I was going to do was make a deposit to my HSA account to get the tax breaks of maxing out my HSA deposit for this year and be able to pay some of the medical providers who’ve been sending me bills.  But now that will have to wait for another day.  Doesn’t sound like a big deal, I know.  My life feels so full right now, tho, that getting rearranged is more of a big deal than it might be for, well, you.

And I’m doing things on my lunch hour sort of because I am so tired these days, in that A) there’s no way I’m doing it on the way home, I’m completely done by the end of my work day,  so this way Some of it gets done, and B) I’m afraid that if I stopped and rested at lunch I may not get going again for the afternoon, so this way I have something to keep me going while I plow through my day in one fell swoop, as they say.]

1:00pm-1:20pm Drive from Work to RTher
1:20pm-1:30pm RTher
1:30pm-1:35pm Post-RTher ablutions
1:35pm-1:45pm Drive from RTher to Work
1:45pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Home

Thursday [Radiation Therapy – Day 14]:

7:05am-8:05am Drive from Home to RTher
8:05am-8:15am RTher
8:15am-8:20am Post-RTher ablutions
8:20am-8:30am Drive from RTher to Work
8:30am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-2:00pm Lunch

[Doing today what I wanted to do yesterday at lunch – depositing some money into a couple of accounts so bills can be paid – and they can leave me the hell alone already!  :)]

2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Home

Friday [Radiation Therapy – Day 15]:

Additional Tasks Accomplished This Week:

– blogged
– took a hat I had knitted for myself and gave it to one of the supervisors at my office to send to her sister, who has finished chemo and radiation, but whose home got slammed in Sandy – at least last week she was wearing a hat (‘cuz her hair hasn’t grown back yet from chemo), under multiple blankets and eating chips for dinner ‘cuz she had no power or heat – ‘cuz I do have hair, power and heat at home, and the means to cook a hot dinner.
– managed Not to run out of gas in the car (it was a pretty close call one day)
– emailed with my cousin on whether I will or will not be coming to her Thanksgiving shindig next week.  It makes me sad that I had to decline, but with Hubby maybe having to work over TG weekend (yeah, crappy, but oh well), and me literally not knowing how I’m going to feel day-to-day right now, since she needs to know for sure by Tuesday noon to plan her party, I had to decline as I honestly can’t guarantee knowing by then if either Hubby or me will be able to/up to doing Thursday.  So Hubby and me are on our own for Turkey Day, but it’s not the first time (prolly won’t be the last) and we’re okay with that.  We’ll either find somewhere else to go, do our own little thing just the two of us, or just hang out together and have peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Schedule: Week of November 5-9, 2012

Monday [Radiation Therapy – Day 6]:

7:10am-8:25am Drive from Home to RTher

[fucking traffic! – being late on Monday morning is a shitty way to start the week]

8:25am-8:35am RTher
8:40am-9:00am Weekly visit with ROnc
9:05am-9:20am Drive from RTher to Work
9:20am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-5:45pm Drive from Work to Acupuncture
5:55pm-7:00pm Acupuncture
7:00pm-7:45p Drive from Acupuncture to Home

Tuesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 7]:

7:00am-8:20am Drive from Home to RTher

[fucking traffic, again! – because starting my day off stressed for more than an hour is so conducive to being healthy, Not!]

8:25am-8:35am RTher
8:35am-8:45am Post-RTher ablutions

[first aid cream on the nipple scar, scar cream on all 5 surgical scars, super-moisturizing cream on the whole boob – plus massage to minimize tissue damage, deodorant – no antiperspirant for me during radiation (aluminum on the skin interferes with the killing of the cells, dontcha know?), and no creams or goops of any kind for 4 hours before radiation treatment (again, interferes with that killing goal)]

8:45am-9:00am Drive from RTher to Work
9:00am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:30pm Lunch

[Acapulco: Carnitas]

2:30pm-530pm Work
5:30pm-6:35pm Drive from Work to Polling Place

[with 1 stop to get gas]

6:35pm-6:40pm Vote
6:40pm-6:45pm Drive from Polling Place to Home

Wednesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 8]:

7:05am-8:05am Drive from Home to RTher
8:10am-8:30am Wait for RTher/Meet social worker

[it seems the machine wasn’t behaving this morning (it is tested every morning I guess before the first patient – me – is put on it) and it took a few minutes for someone to beat it into submission]

8:30am-8:40am RTher
8:40am-8:45am Post-RTher ablutions
8:45am-9:05am Drive from RTher to Work
9:05am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-2:00pm Lunch

[Marie Callendars: Chicken w/ artichokes & mushrooms over pasta.

Are you noticing a pattern here?  Yeah, me too.  And I thought I was doing so well Not stopping at Starbucks every morning on my way from RTher to Work.  The good news is that lunch each of the last two days has yielded enough leftovers for two more full lunches, and I do eat leftovers (Hubby doesn’t), so if I can remember to eat that for lunch tomorrow and Friday, I’ll spend no more money on that, waste no food, and I can eat that at my desk if I want so maybe I’ll get my ass out of my work chair and back up walking again.

That’s something else that has changed (and not for the better this week).  I’m starting to fall into the non-smoker’s (72d CFT today!) bad habit of Not getting up for morning and afternoon breaks since my body is no longer sending up a cry for it’s fix every 2 waking hours.  Okay, starting this afternoon, I resume my twice daily walk around my work block).]

2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:35pm Drive from Work to Home

[Up from 3:00am-4:00am: woken up by animal noises outside my open window – potty, back in bed, nose congested, use polysporin to moisturize/decongest, back in bed, drifting off as more animal noises outside, close window, pick up Kindle – next thing I know I’m hitting snooze, again, on the alarm.]

Thursday [Radiation Therapy – Day 9]:

7:00am-8:10am Drive from Home to RTher

[Big shout out to Hubby (he won’t see this, I don’t think he reads me – he figures he sees me every day, he gets all the info he needs about how this is going directly from me, and the occasional medical event he attends – meeting new doctors, surgeries, first new treatment of any kind – although he is willing to come to Any and Every medical event I Want him to come to) – last night I was complaining about the stress of trying to make it to RTher every day (comparing it to the stress of getting to a former job on time when it was a 2-hour commute – yes, that is Not a typo – One-Way,  in good weather – longer in bad weather), and this morning (as he goes to work before me and heads to just the city before the one where I work in the exact same direction/route as me), he texts me with a traffic & weather report so I know what I’m in for on my way!]

8:10am-8:20am RTher
8:20am-8:25am Gooping up/applying deodorant
8:30am-8:45am Driving from RTher to Work
8:45am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-2:00pm Lunch

[Trip to Whole Foods: A cousin of mine (no, not the same one as has a birthday this week) posted a smoothie photo that had a blurry bottle of Synergy Kombucha in the background, so we had a little convo about that in the comments for the post, and it reminded me that I love that stuff and hadn’t had any in way too long, so I’m using my fabulous one-hour lunch today to go pick some up (along with the tomatoes and green onions that Hubby did Not pick up at the market the other night when getting “salad stuff” – okay, he’s amazing but not perfect – but then neither am I , so that’s okay.]

2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:45pm Drive from Work to Home

[It’s only a little rain, people, not That big a deal!]

Friday [Radiation Therapy – Day 10]:

7:00am-8:00am Drive from Home to RTher

[Back to a regular Friday light traffic patter, with time for my weekly (yeah, I know, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) Starbucks treat stop – but this time I was involved in conversation with someone and forgot to pick up the new Starbucks/iTunes Freebie cards – sorry work-peeps!]

8:00am-8:10am Waiting for machine calibration – met and chatted with another patient “Dana” until my machine was ready for me
8:10am-8:20am RTher
8:20am-8:25am Post-RTher ablutions
8:30am-8:45am Drive from RTher to Work
8:45am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-2:30pm Lunch

[I get an extra-long one today ‘cuz after building in ‘life is screwed up’ time into when I scheduled my RTher, I now end up with extra already-worked time on Fridays sometimes, and I know work doesn’t really want me taking off early (tho that’s what I would prefer to do), so I’m just tacking it onto lunch instead.]

2:30pm-5:30pm Work
5:4opm-6:45pm Drive from Work to Home

[Yeah, got caught up in reading my, well, personal email at the end of my workday and ended up staying 10 minutes late!

Additional Tasks Accomplished This Week:

– walked at least 20 minutes um, some days
– blogged
– VOTED!
– wished my cousin Happy Birthday on Facebook
– paid some bills
– cleaned up bedroom, put clothes away
– gave $100 to a fund for the family of a co-worker of Hubby’s who died on the job this week  😦
– remembered to write check for every other week housecleaner And actually leave it at home for her

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Radiation Therapy Journal – Day 3 – Wednesday October 31, 2012

Slightly less freaked out after Not being poked/fought with for two whole days.  We’ll see what the doc has to say about my stomach issues – took anti-nausea meds on the way to RTher this morning.

When I came in to the suite this morning I asked the waiting room receptionist to let my ROnc know that I wanted to see her this morning after my treatment.

Treatment Notes:

– didn’t really notice any sensation today

Doctor’s Appointment:

– I’m glad to see my, yes admittedly combative, attitude yesterday did not put off my new doc.  I brought up the concern about nausea and stomach pain leading to real permanent damage.  She could have pulled the “I’m a doctor, just trust me, it’ll be fine” crap, but she didn’t.  She said she didn’t do my radiation plan (she didn’t, the asshole did), so she brought it up on the computer, showing me where it was and where my stomach was and that they did Not overlap.  She actually showed me medical evidence for what she was saying, thereby buying actual credibility with me.  Only then did she opine that my stomach problems may be a result of my anxiety.  Hm, okay, I was certainly open to that possibility (I was under no illusions that I was no more than an inch below the ceiling, and had been at least that tightly wound for almost two weeks), so let’s treat that with an anti-anxiety med – script 1.  This will also help me sleep, which will help reduce the anxiety, which will help me sleep, and so on.

– And, by the way , I was Not told that I would be swelling would be this bad, or this early – I mean even before today’s treatment!  I’m talking at least a half cup, maybe a full cup, and all the way around to the side of my body and up into my axilla.  Swelling causes pain that is breaking through the two Aleves I have on board 24 hours a day, so is this normal?  Why haven’t I heard about this happening so much and so soon?  So, no, it’s unusual to happen so soon, but it’s not unheard of.  Great.  Okay, so let’s further help me sleep by seeing if I can Not wake up in pain, so let’s treat that with a pain med – script 2.

Side Effects:

– No nausea or stomach pain today, that’s a step in the right direction

– breast pain: ice pack used three times – twice on the hematoma lateral to the nipple, and once on the nipple itself.  One time it felt so good in there I almost forgot to take it out after 15 minutes.  Time to start using a timer on that deal again.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Radiation Therapy Journal – Day 2 – Tuesday October 30, 2012

Generally pretty freaked out still.  Meeting my new ROnc for the first time.  We’ll see how it goes.

Treatment Notes:

– slight feeling of warmth when they did the up-from-under angle

Doctor’s Appointment:

– I’ll admit it, I came in swinging my sword, so to speak.  I was not about to give her a chance to be like the first doctor I’d seen in that office.  It wasn’t just me establishing dominance though, I was still honestly anxious about the whole deal and needed her to know that (as if I could hide it, ha).  It was a kind of a crappy way to get to know a new doctor, but it was what it was.  I told her that I could not wait 15 minutes each week after my treatment to see her because I had to be at work in a nearby city by 9:00am – yes, every weekday.  She unfortunately gave me the “I have a lot of patients and I try to see everybody as soon after their therapy as possible.”  Okay, realistically I know there are other people in the world.  Absolutely.  But, unless some of those other patients are going to go work my work day, or pay my bills…what?  They don’t care about me?  They have their own lives and shit to worry about?  Right.  Absolutely.  Me too.  I prefaced my next comment by saying I hoped she understood how I said this, but “I don’t care about your other patients.  I have to manage my life first.”  Told doc about yesterday’s nausea and she gave me a script for anti-nausea meds.

Side Effects:

– so yesterday’s nausea has today turned into today’s actual stomach pain, just like when my GERD is out of control.  So this makes me wonder exactly where they’re radiating that I’m having such stomach problems.  And I’m going to have to see the doc again tomorrow (I was told I could see a doc any day I needed to, but no Less often than once a week during radiation), because a few months of this (side effects, so I’m told, can last from 3 weeks to a couple of months After the end of treatment as your body catches back up to the damage that’s been done to it) is one thing, 40 years of it from permanent damage done is something we need to talk about.  So back to the doc again tomorrow.

– breast pain: wow, it’s been a bunch of weeks since I thought about putting an ice pack in my bra, and I’m back to that – two separate times.

Radiation Therapy Journal – Day 1 – Monday October 29, 2012

Treatment Notes:

– slight feeling of warmth when they did the up-from-under angle

Side Effects:

– nausea after treatment – Really?  I hadn’t heard much about nausea as a side effect of radiation therapy, and certainly not after One treatment – this is gonna be fun!