Therapy update – week six, next phase finalized

On Friday I finally had my 'radiology simulation,' which resulted in a plastic cast of my pelvis. Then I spend a long time getting MRI scans. Finally, when at back at home Friday evening I saw that I now have forty radiation sessions scheduled, starting on June 16.

The plastic pelvis cast is used to hold my pelvis in the same position during each radiation session. It's a mold that started as a very hot plastic net which was placed on my pelvis as soon as it cooled just enough that it wouldn't burn my flesh and I wouldn't be screaming. When done, as the technician showed it to me, I was told I could take it home with me after therapy, if I wanted.

Having had multiple MRI scans, I was surprised that I started to recognize the pattern of at least one that had to be repeated. The problem is that I found it difficult to breath in my chest without moving my abdomen – which is what was required to get the image desired. Several scans had to be repeated until I could get through the scan without moving the abdomen – and truly breathing only with the upper chest. That is hard to do if one has been trained to breath deeply with the abdomen.

As for the sessions, the first is Wednesday, June 16, and the last is Wednesday, August 11, The forty sessions are on weekdays, ranging from 11AM to 4PM, though most are within a hour before or two hours after noon. One can get a session as early as 7AM or as late as 10PM but I imagine those are for folks who are still working a full daytime job. Weekdays only, of course, along with a quick check every Wednesday with the Radiation Oncologist monitoring my therapy, Dr. Shasha (interesting name).

Finally, on Friday, July 30, I will get my second three-month dose of Lupron via pellet under the skin in the tummy. So, after August 11 I can hopefully begin recuperating from the side-effects of such extensive radiation – fatigue, tender skin, etc.

Until June 16 I will continue enjoy drinking a cup of coffee, multiple drinks of diet cherry Pepsi and evening drinks of wine, port, and several favorite liquors. From June 16 on, I'll be avoiding all of that as well as ensuring I neither gain nor lose more than a pound or two so that the pelvic mold continues to fit as intended. Sometime in mid-August, perhaps a celebratory dinner with my favorite drinks — who knows?