Well, today was mostly a non-event for me (hopefully a kick in the tumor’s butt…wait, I’m not even sure, now, if tumors have butts). A little blood test to make sure my kidneys were working well, then they plugged me into an IV for nearly 3 hours. First about 32 oz of Saline. A couple of shots of anti-nausea meds. Finally, a 32 more oz of Saline at a slower rate while they put in the cisplatin. The only real effect I could feel was the need to get rid of some of that fluid (3 times). I just dragged the IV tree into the bathroom with me, then plugged it back into the wall when I got back to my chair.
I could taste when the saline started. Then could again taste when the cisplatin started (more metallic taste). I just sat in the chair and munched on beef jerky, cookies, and gummy bears while watching Game of Thrones Season 4 Final Episode.
After everything finished and they unhooked me, I did feel just a little shaky, but not nauseous. That could have been caused by Game of Thrones, though.
Went straight to the food court and had 1/4 chicken with sweet potatoes, mixed veggies, and a chocolate chip cookie. I figured I might as well eat, since I felt fine(ish).
Next stop, radiation. Appointment was for 3 PM, but I had nothing to do but wait, so checked in early, then took a Musinex to keep down the need to cough. They took me back to the treatment area around 2:20pm. Checked out the machine and went over what the procedure would be. I should have asked for a few more details. They basically said 20 minutes, then it would be done.
They locked me in place, and I immediately had to ask for them to unlock me. Just a little bit panicky…it was tight enough that my breathing felt constricted and I needed a few more minutes to psych myself up. So I asked them to give me a few more details about when I would know the machine was irradiating, when it was safe to wiggle a bit, etc. The only medical intervention they had for the anxiety was ativan–basically a Valium. But, you cannot take that and then drive. So, I took a few deep breaths, coughed once, and had them lock me down again.
After I got locked down the second time, I realized that I had tensed up so much, that I was much tighter in the mask than necessary. I willed my chest and shoulders to relax, and that helped a lot. I didn’t feel like my breathing was restricted. I could take a nice, deep breath. The only major discomfort was dry mouth (from the panic and probably from the chemo and Musinex, as well). I might hit myself with some mouth moisturizer tomorrow just before they lock me down.
First, an X-Ray. Then, they said would come in and adjust the targeting marks on my mask. That would take about 5 minutes. Except, apparently the marks were fine as is, and they did not re-adjust the targeting marks. So this phase just took 2 minutes or so, followed by another 3 or 4 minutes of waiting.
Next, the actual radiation therapy. The “gun” rotates around my neck while irradiating. Takes a little over a minute to do this, then it rests for a few seconds (you can hear the noise level change). It does this 4 times for my treatment (other patients might get more or fewer). I took advantage during each brief rest to swallow, cough if I needed to, or just slightly wiggle. Then, after the 4th pass of the radiation beam, they unlocked me and it was over.
Having a 1- or 2-minute horizon instead of a 20-minute horizon to think about really helped my mental state. It is much easier to count to 120 than to count to 1200. Plus, I believe the actual procedure was completed in just a little over 10 minutes, not 20. So, end the end I got through it without needing a diaper change. I would have consider a Stadium Pal, though, if it had gotten worse instead of better.
So, after all that I stopped by the office (a couple of packages to pick up, a little work to do). Checked in with my bosses. Reminded them to keep sending me tasks…use me while I feel good, because I might not be this perky in a month. Now, headed to get some Clam Chowder and then home.
I don’t really feel any different at the moment. But, I didn’t really expect to feel any different, yet. Hopefully, tomorrow’s post won’t be “Throat Blog — The Return of the Chicken.” (Speaking of either lunch or my radiation therapy lock-down anxiety…).