Posted tagged ‘cancer’

Half Done

June 13, 2018

2018-06-12 13.33.52Today was 15th radiation treatment. 15 more to go. So far so good. Last treatment is on July 5.

The bus takes us from the Kaiser Harbor City facility up to the Kaiser facility in Hollywood. ( about an hour ride)

Today we didn’t have our regular bus. I guess the regular bus was out of service. In its stead we had one of those 12 passenger vans. What a pain. Just about every seat taken. No extra room to speak of.

Not only am I half done with treatments, I am also about half done with the book that I am listening to on Audible. I am listening to the biography of Ulysses S Grant by Ron Chernow. Very interesting. I have started watching the Ken Burns series on the Civil war. Also, interesting. It’s available on Netflix.

The bus is sort of a rolling support group. Everyone on the bus has some sort of cancer. I have had interesting conversations with many of the folks on the bus.

The treatments have some nasty side effects. My sense of taste is long gone. So is my appetite. I have a low grade sore throat. Though, some folks have it much worse. I can at least eat but I generally don’t want to. I am tired and grumpy. (more so than usual). Water has a metallic taste to it.

So I have lost about 4 pounds over the past three weeks. The doctor today told me “try not to lose too much weight”. What? I don’t think I have ever heard a doctor say those words. Hell of a diet.

Back on the bus tomorrow.

Joe

Radiation – Day 1

May 23, 2018

2018-05-23 09.41.18Today I had my first radiation treatment at Kaiser in Hollywood. It took a solid hour and a half to drive up there. The drive is worse than the treatment. My appointment was at 08:24, so I was driving at prime traffic time.

Starting tomorrow, I get to ride the shuttle from Harbor City. So I can catch up on my reading and podcasts.

The first appointment was different because they had to do some X-rays and fine tuning of the set up.

They have a mask that locks my head into one place while the X-ray machine does its thing.

Kaiser has about 7 machines in the basement of the building on Sunset Blvd. They gave each machine a name to help keep track of which is which. The one that I will be using is called “Megatron”. I am sure Jonathan will be amused.

If one looks carefully at the light above the machine you can see a picture of a leafy tree. I guess it’s to make one forget that you’re getting zapped with mega-watts of radiation to kill the cancer bugs.

They have a control center in another room with a bunch of computers with about 6 screens. They wouldn’t let me take a picture because another patient’s data was on the screen.

So I go back tomorrow and each weekday until the end of June. I get weekends and Memorial Day off for good behavior.

Oncology

April 20, 2018

2018-04-20 08.49.06I had an 8:30 AM appointment with the Radiation Oncology Dept at Kaiser. The appointment was up in Hollywood on Sunset Blvd. For all my friends on the East coast that is a long haul. Paula and I were out the door at 7:15 AM and arrived at 8:45 AM. Brutal Friday traffic. I’m glad I don’t have to do that every day.

So after the usual pleasantries of step on the scale, roll up your sleeve for the BP cuff and what’s your temp., we got to meet with an Oncology resident who talked about the plan. We talked about my history with respect to squamous cell carcinoma.

I am to do six weeks of radiation, five days a week for six weeks. The idea is to knock out any remaining squamous cells before they have a chance to settle in and get all comfy.

So then I told him that we were going to be traveling to Boston in May. Trip paid for and non-negotiable. He agreed to start the treatment on the day after we return on May 22. So far so good.2018-04-20 11.24.16

Here’s a pic of my oncologist. Actually, he is a resident. So even though he looks young, he’s got some supervision.

Two other visits were scheduled. First to see the Kaiser dentist to create some sort of gadget to keep me from moving my teeth during the treatment.

Second was a final get together with the oncologist to review the details.

One bit of good news is that Kaiser has a shuttle from their offices in South Bay and the medical center up in Hollywood. So I won’t have to do the driving myself. I wasn’t looking forward to doing 1 1/2 hour drive each way every day.

Treatment

April 19, 2018

2018-04-18 21.51.29So now that the surgery is behind me, it is time to look at treatment. I will be meeting with the Radiation Oncology Dept (aka the Tumor Board) at Kaiser on Friday. It is becoming a struggle to get Paula free to accompany me. The appointment is at 8:30 AM in downtown LA. So that means that I will probably have to be on the road by 7:00 AM. Ugh.

Well, we managed to get Dawn to watch over Mary tomorrow AM. So Paula will be coming with me. That also means that I can use the diamond lane.

Then next week I have an ultrasound scheduled on my thyroid. Did that last week but this time they need to do a dye. They were supposed to both last Friday, but the department that does the dye is a different group. sigh.

After the surgery, Dr K told me that he thought that he would be recommending just radiation and not chemo. I suppose I will find out on Friday.

I guess the assumption is that there are still some squamous cells on the lose up in my head somewhere. We’ll see.

Next Steps

April 13, 2018
2018-04-09 21.34.41

Pic taken 4-10-2018

I had my followup appointment with my head and neck surgeon today. We found a friend of Paula’s to watch Mary, so that Paula could attend the meeting.

So here’s the deal. The surgery site on my neck is healing nicely. There is still some swelling and discomfort along the incision line, but that should go away eventually. The surgeon removed a 4 cm. tumor from my left parotid gland as well as some lymph node  glands in the area.

My surgeon believes that this is related to my squamous cell carcinoma from Jan 2016. Next appointment is scheduled for two weeks from today. My case will be presented to board of head and neck surgeons for review. He seems to feel that we will do radiation but not chemo. We will see what the collective medical brains from Kaiser have to say on the matter.

That’s enough for today. Have a nice weekend, everyone.

Joe