Thursday, March 10, 2016

Radiation continued ...

So I've had 10 radiation treatments thus far - 30 total if you count individual locations. 10 to my cricoid, 10 to my C3 and 10 to my left iliac (pelvis). I no longer have the pain or weak feeling in my pelvis, but I don't know if that's from the treatment or just from the reduction in hormones now that I'm almost 3 months postpartum. The pain in my neck is better as well. I don't have the numbness anymore nor nearly as many instances of tingling. Every now that then I still feel an ache but that's when my head is in an extreme angle, like chin to chest. And my airway ... the lesion on my cricoid is stable. We won't know how effective radiation has been until a few weeks after it's completed. When will it be completed? One more week. 5 days exactly. And just 5 more treatments to my cricoid specifically. They start next week. Thus far - the only side effects from treatment are fatigue and a really sore throat. Imagine trying to drink a glass of sand. That's what it feels like. My throat feels so dry that just swallowing in general hurts ... then you add food ... it hurts ... a lot. I've resorted to eating like Kobiashi and taking a drink of water or tea with every bite of food to help wash it down. That and chewing my food until it's paste in my mouth ... or just simply eating soups or purees or smoothies right now. It's no wonder my appetite isn't as big as it usually is. My mom is entertaining buying me baby food ...

I've also got the ovarian suppression on board and so far I'm not noticing any side effects from it. It makes you question whether or not it's working. I'm supposed to be having hot flashes and night sweats and other menopausal symptoms. But the suppression is treatment, as my oncologist's nurse keeps telling me. The rest of treatment will happen once radiation is over.

Treatment, treatment, treatment. We stay the course with one agent of treatment until we need to switch. "Until" isn't defined and could be a long time or short time. In the meantime, we're just trying to take time one day at a time. It's been days that are happy and days that are sad, and days where I'm tired and days that I cry. Most often, it's a combination of all of this in one day. I was telling Mike the other day that having cancer - being in treatment for cancer - is a full time job it seems like. We're at the hospital a lot and I know it will slow down once radiation is over, but it just feels like a lot lately. I'm meeting with so many different doctors right now I guess it makes sense - oncology, ENT, radiation oncology, neuro oncology, nutrition ... not to mention the other teams we haven't met with yet.

So what's outstanding right now - we need to see how I respond to the radiation treatment and the expectation is that the lesions on my cricoid and C3 shrink back and scar over and are no longer active for an indefinite amount of time. We should start finding out how successful rads was over the next month or so. Next, the stability of my C3 once it scars over. I'm extremely hopeful that it scars over well and holds strong and that I won't need any surgery on that vertebrae. I don't know when we'll be able to assess that - maybe in a few months, maybe longer. Finally, how I'm responding systemically ... again something that we won't be able to assess for a few months.

I'm so extremely hopeful for a great response. I'm sure everyone is. I pray for it every day.

My birthday is this sunday. I'll be 35.


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