Thursday, May 22, 2008

Day 19

I got my first tattoo today. I couldn’t bring myself to join the outlaw motorcyclists at one of the sleazy salons in town, so I had the nice ladies at the cancer center do it for me instead. It’s part of the package deal they offer: five weeks of radiation therapy for many thousands of dollars, and you get a free tattoo—actually three small dots they use to register my pelvic position each day before they irradiate me. They don’t do dragons or Maltese crosses or anything interesting like High Priestess. Dots! I’m really disappointed.

The tattoos were part of the preparation I went through for the next phase of therapy. Starting Tuesday I’ll go to the cancer center daily to be zapped in my left inguinal crease (read “groin”). If there are cancer cells in my body, this is where they’re most likely to be loitering, so the radiation will reduce the odds for local recurrence. It’s fast and painless. I’m told the radiation does add to the fatigue factor, however, and there are possible longer term side-effects, most notably lymphedema in the lower leg and more scar tissue (fibrosis) in the area being irradiated. This is one of those deals where I won’t know how bad the treatment is until it’s over. At least with interferon it’s pay as you go.

I’ve sailed through the INF infusions the last couple of days. It’s nice to catch a break. Tomorrow is my last day. I feel ridiculously happy about this. If you care to see how others have responded to this news, click on this link:


Carl Pelz said...

Yes, hallelujah and congratulations on being near the end of this grueling phase of treatment. Thanks for keeping us up to date, giving us a window into some of the stark places you find yourself in, the opportunity to contemplate the larger questions we often avoid, and the beautiful picture of the flowers in your garden!

Anonymous said...

Love the link. Glad the last few days have taken it a little easier on you.

Karen B.

Wags said...

Glad this is winding down and praying that the next month will go much easier. Try to stay focused on the flowers more than anything--they're a window to the daily blessings from God that we often overlook. Go out to dinner tonight.