Monday, March 2, 2009

While Rick Jones plays the harmonica...

Thanks to the snow day, I was able to be at the meeting with Dr. Wegman, our radiation oncologist. As a side note, I think it's interesting that fate seems to be allowing me to be present at all the things at which I need be present. G-d really does look out for us, even if we don't understand or don't appreciate His Plan. (The Cylons have a plan, too, that only seems marginally more destructive. Sigh.)

Anyway.

We arrived at the radiation center at around 8:50 for a 9:00 appointment. We had received the paperwork in the mail earlier, so we did not have to fill it out while at the office. We went in and met the nurse and the doctor, who spoke with us for around 45 minutes.

Basically, it's a six-day radiation cycle, after which chemo will resume as soon as his counts are ready. The radiation is a low dose but a high area of affect, and the radiation will take place on both sides of his body. There will be a minimum of the "sunburn" effect that higher doses, such as those Grandma and Grandpa received for their cancers. The short-term effects include nausea, fatigue and depressed counts. The long-term effects include potential bone growth issues and a slightly higher risk for cancer in his midsection.

Hey, combine that with the cytoxin's increased risk of leukemia, and we're looking at an awful lot of fun in high school.

The interesting thing is how quickly things are going to start: on Wednesday (two days from now), they'll fit him for a butt mold and tattoo him on the areas that he is getting zapped. The tattoos are small, freckle-shaped things that allow the radiation therapists to line up their shot, and the butt mold keeps him in place. The Boy will be sedated for the procedure in order that he lie still, and he must be NPO for six hours prior to treatment.

(NPO definition - no food for six hours beforehand, clear liquids up until two hours before.)

He will receive, at the time he is tattooed and molded, a deep CT scan to verify the area affected. The whole thing will take forty minutes or so. Pretty quick, no?

The treatments themselves will start on Thursday. They will run Thursday-Friday-Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday, and counts will be taken before, during, and after the treatment. The effects of radiation on his blood counts will be cumulative, meaning the counts will shrink as the treatment progresses. Considering he is already pre-treated with chemo, it seems likely that The Boy will receive another transfusion within the next week and a half.

We are hoping that the Tumor Review Board will discuss The Boy's case on Wednesday, as the radiation oncologist needs their input on his exact method of treatment - radiation dose, areas of affect, etc. We'll see.

Well, that's that. I feel better that I was there, even though I'm still freaked out about the whole radiation thing. I don't know why, considering the radiation seems to be more mild than his chemotherapy. Just my own psychosis, I guess.

Now to enjoy the rest of the snow day. There's some playing that needs to be done, and I need to finish my literature review for my class. I want to play some Rock Band with my wife, and we might go for pedicures; then again, I might be effeminate enough without adding that to my arsenal. (I'm far more vain than my wife, always on diets, more concerned about clothes and dressing, a more enthusiastic shopper, et al.)

1 comment:

the mol said...

Correction--Etoposide (VP-16) is the one that increases the risk of leukemia. Carboplatin can cause hearing loss and is also toxic to the kidneys. Cytoxan can cause bleeding in the kidneys and bladder, which is why they give Mesna with it, but is actually the least likely to cause late effects even though it is the most evil medicine during his treatment.