Many thanks to all of you who send me emails, messages and texts. I appreciate the good thoughts and encouraging words immensely: they make me feel loved. Truly. I also apologize for not replying to all of them. I don’t always respond because I often consider them as replies to my blog posts. But I may get to them… 🙂
Life has been everything but boring since my last blog post. First, my friend Marthe, for whom I started this blog, flew all the way over from Zimbabwe to spend 10 days with me. It was a great visit. I was exhausted when she left but also replenished, if that makes any sense.
After Marthe left, things started getting a tad stressful as I hit a few bumps on my way to undergo radiation. After my latest and 12th chemo infusion 2 weeks ago (Nov. 29 to Dec. 1) I was scheduled for a week of radiation preparation, to be followed by 2 weeks of radiation itself. Radiation preparation consists of 3 steps: 1. have fiducial tumor markers implanted in my liver (to act as guides for where to radiate), 2. have an MRI done to show where the fiducials are, and 3. have a radiation simulation done (not sure yet what that means but I’ll let you know when I find out).
Well, step 1, i.e. the fiducial operation, was rescheduled TWICE! The first time because the hospital didn’t get the health insurance authorization in time. The second time because the hospital didn’t have enough fiducials in stock. They needed 6 (2 per tumor) and they only had 4, and they only found out when I was on the operating table and about to be anesthetized. They told me to get dressed, go home, and come back in 2 days.
This double postponement forced me to spend hours and hours on the phone and at various hospital front desks trying to reschedule steps 2 and 3, i.e. the MRI and the simulation, and in the end it resulted in the radiation being postponed by 2 weeks. Ugh!
Then, I remembered my oncologist telling me at some point that I could not be without treatment for too long. So I spent more hours on the phone and at my oncologist’s front desk trying to communicate with him and ask if it was ok to be without chemo for those extra 2 weeks before radiation would start. It took 2 days to get a reply which was that indeed, I could not be without chemo for that long and needed another chemo infusion.
All this uncertainty and time spent trying to reschedule things caused me to get pretty stressed out.
But all is good again.
Yesterday, Friday, the fiducials were implanted. I now have 6 tiny platinum nuggets in my liver which will act as beacons for the radiation. That operation itself was almost fun. I was under conscious sedation (Versed and Fentanyl) so I was awake during the procedure. Being awake was necessary because I had to hold my breath many times as the fiducials were being put in place right next to the tumors. They complimented me on my capacity to hold my breath for a long time. Also, the surgeon, ultrasound technician and nurses had a nice sense of humor which made the procedure almost pleasant. And Frank Sinatra was singing in the background. “When I was 25…”
And today, Saturday, I started my 13th infusion, which will last until Monday.
Simulation is scheduled for Dec. 19 and MRI is scheduled for Dec. 24.