Radiation Oncology Consult
I didn’t have my actual consult today because of some scheduling issues, but I did get to meet with Dr. Langer briefly. He was a very nice guy and went over the procedure with me. He explained all the risks of doing total body radiation, but like everyone else he recognizes the alternative to not doing it would be death, so we both decided to move forward. I signed the consent and he sent me off to radiation simulation. I’ll have my actual consult on 9/16 to hear more about the process and ask questions.
Today was radiation simulation day. Basically this was a prep session to make sure everything is in place for my radiation therapy. As part of the SCT, I will receive radiation twice a day for 4 days. In the morning they’ll fry my front side. They then send me back to my room to let the glow die down. After a few hours in my room, the send me back in the afternoon to fry my backside. This goes on for for days until I can cook eggs by simply holding them in my hands. My science may be a little off there, but I’m sure getting shot with a bunch of radiation has some cool side effects they haven’t told me about yet. For now, Simulation makes me think of this scene from Monster’s Inc. Hopefully they don’t keep any jacks on the floor in the therapy room.
Gown Up Young Man
I had to wear 2 robes for simulation, although they took one off me rather quickly. Maybe someone saw something they liked as I was hopping up on the table. On the table is a bag the shape of a twin mattress but filled with bean bag like beans. They shape this bag around me as I lay on my side. The goal is to shape the bag in such a way to support my body and not allow it to move. Once they’ve molded the bag in the right way, they suck the air out of it and the bag stays rigid in the form of my body. Come radiation day, I’ll lay in this mold so that I won’t move as the radiation occurs. After getting a mold of me laying on my right side, we then proceeded to get a mold of me laying on my left side.
During the molding process, they also take a lot of measurements and pictures. The pictures are so that they can see exactly how I was lying during simulation. The measurements are so that they can measure where I am in relation to the radiation machine as well as other parts of the setup. Basically all of this is done to make sure I’m in the EXACT same spot for the actual radiation as I was for the simulation. Apparently if I shift a little bit, say by scratching my nose, I could get radiation to my lungs.
Speaking of radiation to my lungs,that is one of the potential complications. They build blocks and place them in front of you so that the radiation won’t reach the lungs, but that’s assuming you are in the EXACT same spot. Side effects to my lungs can range from difficulty breathing during exercise to needing oxygen all of the time due to reduced lung capacity. I’m already doing a bone marrow transplant, so I’d like to avoid a lung transplant. They took x-rays of my lungs while I was laying in my EXACT spot and they will use these x-rays to trace and cut the blocks. Maybe that will be a project in Natalie and Sydney’s next pre-school class.
I had an inkling that this was going to be the case, but Dr. Langer confirmed that I will get a testicle boost as part of my radiation. Now that by itself may not sound bad. I mean who doesn’t want to boost their testicles? It’s kinda like the smoothie shops when you can go in and get a Vitamin C boost or a Protien Boost. They put a little something in your drink to boost you in some way. So maybe you’re getting a smoothie one Friday and you know you have a big night out planned with the little lady. Why not get that testicle boost improve your performance a little bit?
Unfortunately in this case, testicle boost, means an extra dose of radiation to the boys down south. They’ll lay me on a different table. Dr. Langer will apparently “arrange” things to his liking and then they’ll hit up Fred and George with a direct shot. And no I don’t call my testicles Fred and George. That was just for illustration purposes. Besides, Fred and George aren’t testicle names. At least one of them would have to be named Harry.
Thankfully the general should still be able to salute. The most likely side effect will be azoospermia, or a decreased sperm count. In all likelihood I’m already shooting blanks, but you never know. I started with a larger army than most (as medically proven during infertility testing) so maybe some special forces will survive. Good thing I have a large basilic vein.
My Curveball Post
It’s never happened to me before, but there’s a first time for everything. I accidentally posted my last blog entry before it was done. Apparently premature posting is something that happens to a lot of men, not just me. I’m hoping to avoid it in the future though. So if you were a person that read Curveball within the first 15 minutes of it being posted, you might want to go back and read it again. A few things may have changed.
A Duck Dynasty Prayer
Stepping out of my comfort zone is never easy. I’m used to chemo. I’m used to IV bags with liquids flowing into me. I’m not used to a big room with big equipment. I’m not used to everyone clearing out and being alone as radiation courses through my body. Side effects are nothing new, but serious long term side effects seem more real now. My body isn’t perfect now. And it won’t be perfect after all of this. The goal isn’t fully functioning lungs. The goals is a cure and to be with my family for many more years. I know I will be physically protected. I know I will be spiritually protected. Reassure my heart of what my mind already knows. Thank you for the team of experts that has been assembled. Guide their hands and heads as they measure and make decisions. Guide the radiation to the cancer and kill anything that may be remaining. Thank you that this kind of treatment is available so close to home. Close to bedtime stories and goodnight kisses. Thank you for another day.