Friday, October 23, 2009

"Now for the continuing saga..."

OK, so it's not a saga, but it IS continuing! :-)

Had my appointment with Dr. Million yesterday- she's my radiation oncologist. Met with her at St. Mark's in SLC because the doctors from Huntsman do rotations at St. Marks, and Thursdays are her days.  Unfortunately, yesterday was the earliest I could get an appointment, so I took it. Lisa and I went down- Barry had a conflict, so he didn't join us.

Talk about a THOROUGH Doctor! She was very thorough, and we were very impressed with her. She didn't seem to display much emotion- very level and "just the facts" kind of person.  NOT that there's anything wrong with that, and I know doctors tend to detach a bit, but it's just interesting the personalities of all the different doctors we've dealt with during this journey.  She spent all the time we wanted/needed, and was very helpful. She walked us through the PET scan again, and that was great to reinforce what we had learned, and even learn a little more.

We have a follow-up appointment with her today at Huntsman, and this will be a "mapping session" in which they will create a mold of my body which I will lie in during each treatment session so as to ensure I'm positioned as they want me to be. They'll also tattoo me with five small dots (barely visible) which will serve to align the radiation to me (via lasers) each time I go for a treatment. Don't anyone tell my Bishop or Stake President I have tats- that's sure to get me released! :-)  As I mentioned on my Twitter feed, I was considering perhaps a butterfly, a yin and yang, a dragon, a heart and President Obama as my tattoos!  :-)  OK,  maybe not.

They'll also do another CAT scan so as to be able to determine the exact field of radiation, and also the depth at which to radiate in each portion of the field. Dr. Million has to be there to work with the Physics folks, the radiation folks, the CAT scan operators, etc., etc. (hence the reason we didn't do it yesterday since we were at St. Mark's and I've requested to do my treatment at HCH).

Once the session today is complete, they will begin my treatment 4-5 days later. But, since they don't begin treatment on Fridays, it looks like we'll start the following Monday (at least that's our guess). Will know more today. We'll do 17 or 18 treatments, and if we run into the Thanksgiving week, they will not do treatments on Thanksgiving or the day after, so that would push me into the next week. Dr. Million actually said something like "we're not in a rush", so apparently we're OK and we'll get this done the right way (which is FINE with me!). Dr. Million said "It's not how quickly you do it, but how many sessions you do."

Side effects are something we've wondered about, and folks have asked about. Apparently males my age are the most susceptible to nausea, so she'll prescribe a pill (actually a wafer) that I put under my tongue 45 minutes before each session. This is supposed to block the nausea, or at least minimize it. She indicated that insurance normally covers the prescription, but the pills are $80 a pop, so we're hoping my insurance will cover them (chances are it will). If not, I guess I'll carry a garbage bag around with me after each treatment. That should go over well at work!

Diarrhea is also possible, it just depends on each individual. If it happens to me, we'll manage my diet to help minimize the effects.

Fatigue, too, is possible, and just depends. Apparently weekends are good for patients as they feel invigorated with no treatments happening Sat or Sun.

So, although we're not yet "moving", we're making progress, and getting closer. We did talk with Dr. Million about how this could cure the cancer, but that it also might not, and we need to be prepared for that, given that this type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma really acts more like a chronic disease than anything else. We are booked for Jan. 19 to have a follow-up with Dr. Glenn, at which time we'll do a new PET scan, and if the cancer has been eradicated, that should be very easy to see. So, that's what we'll be praying for and working towards.

Finally, a shout out to our friends Loren and Kelly.  Kelly had a major surgery yesterday at the U Medical Center, and we stopped in to see Loren while she was still in surgery.  He was in good spirits, and had both of Kelly's parents and his Mom with him.  We'll go back today after my appointment at HCH and visit with Kelly for a few minutes.  Their kids are all too young to even be allowed in to visit, and I know that's wearing on all of them- that's tough for kids to not be able to see Mom while she's in the hospital. So, much love to the Roundys, and lots of prayers.  Those of you who know them, say an extra prayer for them that Kelly's recovery will be speedy and sound, and that she'll be home with family shortly.  Loren and Kelly- the Handys love you guys!

1 comment:

  1. Todd, what a great idea this blog is. If anyone can beat it-- you CAN! I adore you Todd, and will keep you and your family in our prayers. Take care, and keep Blogging!