Thursday, June 26, 2008

Denied

Last night, they told me that I wouldn't be allowed to take the ass-cast (that is, the cast of my ass) home with me when the treatment is done. :(

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Radiation Therapy

Here's how it works-

I show up to the same place at the same time every day. Every one else there has cancer, naturally, and many of them are much worse off them me. Some of them are much much much worse off than me. I grab a red folder from the check in desk and take it back through the cancer center into the radiation therapy waiting room, I give it to the girl behind *that* desk and then step into a small dressing room and change into your typical hospital robe. Within a few moments of emerging one of the techs calls me into The Chamber.

The Chamber is dim and everything happens very quickly. Before I get a good chance to look around the techs have me on The Slab (nestled into a special ass-cast that they, well, cast from my ass). Asking questions or making small talk at this point is discouraged, these techs are not here for me, they serve The Machine. The Machine hovers over The Slab, a mechanized unblinking eye with terrible secrets lurking somewhere inside. The techs push me, pull me, trace X-es and lines across my stomach in permanent marker, raise The Slab, lower it, and eventually leave.

Then it's just me and The Machine. The Machine is quiet and motionless for a few moments, than springs suddenly to life. Behind its glass lens, a light turns on, a few whirring noises emerge and then a loud buzz. This is The Moment, this is the radiation. It feels like nothing, I sit there trying to feel something as invisible rays tear the cells of my lymph nodes to shreds, but there is nothing. The buzz continues for maybe two minutes, then The Machine is quiet again for a handful of seconds before it lurches into motion. The Machine is attached to a long arm arching over my head and ending somewhere below The Slab, and this arm turns, revolving The Machine to end up somewhere below me. Another buzzing, then quiet. The Machine is done.

The techs reemerge, lower The Slab and send me on my way. A few minutes later as I'm walking to the car I begin to feel distinctly uncomfortable. There is a touch of nausea, but more noticeable is the drug I've taken to combat it, which instead makes me dizzy and very tired. I lose track of conversation, the flow of words in an article. For the next few hours, I am good for nothing but staring blankly at the computer screen, or dvd episodes of television shows I've seen many times before.

The next day, some discomfort remains, but I can eat at least. Until 2:00 rolls around and I take my pill and prepare for the next round.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fotos de Brycito







Thursday, June 12, 2008

Retrospect

At Winning's Coffee Shop with Brycito, he's snoozing soundly and I get up to grab a refill on my coffee. When I come back this older man, maybe in his late 50s early 60s, says to me, "Hey, how old is your little boy?"

"Three and a half months," I answer, smiling.

"That's great. I got some grandkids now, it's wonderful, but I tell you it goes by so fast."

"Yeah, I bet, even this three months-" I start.

"Especially since I made some mistakes," he interrupts, "You know, I just made some mistakes."

"Well, we're all human, we all make mistakes," I say, not really sure what an appropriate response would be.

"I mean, I don't want to take you away from your work," he says, referring to the computer. "But sometimes I just wake up at night and think about all the mistakes."

"We're all human," I say again. "We all make mistakes."

"Yeah, well get back to your work, I'll leave you alone," he smiles and turns back to his paper.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Good Description of TC Radiation Therapy

Radiation Treatment



Post surgery, even a minor case of testicular cancer like mine has a 25% chance of recurring. However, with radiation treatment of the lymph nodes, the chance of recurrence drops to 1%. Sign me up.

In two weeks, I'll begin radiation therapy. Every day for three weeks I'll submit to the... I don't even know what. Some sort of god-light in a marble room? Yeah, I haven't researched this too much yet. Anyway, it boils down to them zapping me with some sort of magic-tech which will Purify Me. Consider it sacrament or baptism. Because the radiation will be concentrated on my lower torso and stomach (this is where the cancer would typically move to next after the testicles) the side effects will be primarily gastro-intestinal in nature- meaning "nausea". I asked the doctor what he meant by "nausea", "Are we talking a little bit of queasiness here?"

"No, I mean vomiting. A fair amount of vomiting the first few days at least."

Whee. So I have an emetic prescribed to hopefully head off the vomiting at the pass, but it will instead make me ever so sleepy. Hopefully, my body will adapt to the daily dose of rads pretty quickly and I'll be able to dispense with the emetic and just deal with the fatigue that typically follows a radiation treatment without compounding it with drugs.

Otherwise, I am now eligible for medical marijuana under New Mexico State Law. If I can get my doctor to sign off I could have an ID card, which would be awesome Of course, there is currently no way to actually obtain legal medical marijuana, but the novelty of qualifying is enough for me.