On the conveyor
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I have to hand it to the fine folks at the B.C. Cancer Agency—now that I'm set up for treatment of my cancer there, they don't mess around with delays.
My wife and I agree that is both reassuring, because things are getting done, and scary, because it is so different from typical health treatments. Which means it's damn serious.
Some highlights for the next few days:
- First thing tomorrow at 10:00 I have the "simulation" portion of my preparation for radiation therapy. That means I'll have marker tattoo dots placed on my body for precise positioning and have a few scans and tests done to figure out how my treatment will proceed, probably starting next week. I have to drink 750 mL of water half an hour beforehand.
- I've learned a few interesting things about radiotherapy from the BCCA website, such as: "Some people do not have any side effects [or they] may not show up until after two weeks into treatment and can last two to four weeks after treatment" and "Your chances of sunburn on the area treated will be greater from now on" (I will likely have some irritated skin where the X-rays are passed through into where the tumours are internally) and "Most [radiation treatment] rooms are also equipped with music. Feel free to request your favourite type of music."
- The machine I'll be under every weekday for the next month and half is actually an X-ray linear accelerator, like those groovy science experiments at Stanford and elsewhere, except a tad smaller.
- At 2:30 in the afternoon I meet with Dr. Kennecke about my chemotherapy, which will be simultaneous with my radiation treatment. I should find out then what combination of intravenous (drip or push) and oral medications I will receive.
- Other things I've learned about chemotherapy: "IV chemotherapy can take from 15 minutes to 12 hours or longer" and there are also pills, capsules, or liquid oral treatments, as well as topical creams.
- On Friday, I have to drink another bunch of liquid in prep for another CT scan.
On the weekend, right after my CT scan is over, my wife and I will go to Victoria for a last pre-treatment getaway before everything gets started. The room has a jacuzzi soaker tub and a fireplace. Plus free Wi-Fi.