8 down, 25 more to go

So far so good. Some side effects are beginning – a little “lump in my throat” and slight trouble swallowing started yesterday, slight tenderness and itchiness of the chest wall too, plus a bit of fatigue again.

I knew these were possible so they weren’t a surprise and they are indeed slight at this point. According to the literature, the effects of radiation are cumulative and side effects may worsen during the course of treatment. They then gradually disappear over several weeks or months after therapy is finished.

I saw a Dr. Moore this past Monday for a weekly progress check and he didn’t even look at the radiated area, just chatted for a couple of minutes. He said he didn’t need to look at me really because it was too early for my chest wall to “pink up,” but that it will after a week or 10 days. He said to be sure to use the prescription cream several times a day, which I have been doing.

Dr. Moore is from Charleston, a retired physician on loan to McLeod for now. He was upbeat and friendly. As I left the exam room he told me to keep up the good work and I replied, “You do the same.” He thought that was hilarious (although I’d thought what he said was funny) and he said, “Me? Me!?”

I guess he thought he himself had it made and I was the one who needed encouragement. I told him his smile and laughter were valuable assets and to keep them going. He was still chuckling as he walked down the hall.

Since he’s only in Florence occasionally I don’t know if I’ll be seeing him again or one of the other radiologists, Dr. Grubb who I saw initially, or Dr. Spence.

The techs x-rayed me again Thursday, one film before and one after the regular treatment (using the same machine again). I asked why and they said it’s to keep a close check on positioning, to be sure their beam targeting is still accurate and no fine-tuning is needed. It only added about 5 minutes to the total treatment time. They said they do this every 5-6 treatments for every patient.

I noticed that whenever the radiation beam is on, it makes a high-pitched buzz. Most times it lasts about 90 seconds. Their are two target areas on the chest wall and the beam is turned on twice from the front (at an angle to avoid heart and lungs). The gantry (radiation machine) is kept in the same place with a pause of maybe 5 seconds in between these two 90-second sessions.

Then the gantry is moved so the beam targets the same area from the back, and that time only one 90-second session is used. It takes more time to re-position the gantry than to treat the area.

The next session is on the neck, targeting the scapular-neck area lymph nodes. That includes one 90-second session from the front, again at an angle, and one very short, maybe 20-second session from the back.

All together, from getting on the table to getting off the table, those five treatment sessions take maybe 10 minutes. Most of that time is taken up by the techs positioning myself on the table and positioning the gantry for each radiation treatment.

Including undressing, putting on hospital gown and robe, then getting dressed again afterward, it takes maybe 15 minutes. I’m the first patient after lunch now, my appointment changed from 1:30 to 1:00. Since the techs pass the waiting room on their way back to work, they collect me as they go by.

It takes 15-20 minutes to drive from home to the hospital depending on red lights and traffic congestion, so all in all I’m away from home less than an hour.


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Bette’s Journal

Bette Cox 2010

Christ is the "Big C" in my life!

That was told to me by a good friend recently, and it's so very true.

Jesus says in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

I believe Jesus. I hope you do too.

I have one request of other believers reading this journal:

Agree with me that the invader will shrink, shrivel, die and disappear from my body, whatever method the Lord uses to accomplish that.

Thanks in advance.


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