Friday, November 14, 2008

Say Hello To Tom & Vince **SEE UPDATE**

That's Tom, over there on the right. His full name is Tom O. Therapy (OK OK .. it's really Tomotherapy).

There may be some folks out there who've read my prior posts about my having prostate cancer. Some may even wonder what's been going on with that, since then, so follows a shameless update about yorz trooly.

My PSA had increased from 3.9 .. just under the 4.0 theshhold of action .. to 5.1 in the 6 months leading up to May this year, so there ensued biopsies, pathology, and surgery. A 30-day retest showed a 4.1 PSA, meaning the cancer had moved into a new home somewhere.

Bone scans were negative, but a CAT scan, accompanied by nuclear stuff in the IV, showed an enlarged lymph node. Subsequently, a Lupron injection has robbed the cancer of its food, and the PSA has gone from 4.1 post-surgery, to 2.0 a month later, to 0.32 another 3 weeks after that.

The Lupron is doing precisely what it's supposed to do.

That leaves the question about radiation, as Lupron usually loses its effectiveness after a few yeas YEARS (durn laptop keyboard...). There's a 25% chance that the disease hasn't gone anywhere else besides that one node; if that's the case, radiation treatments can kill it, and that'll be that.

We contemplated the minor side effects, with radiation, and decided I'd have the treatments, even at my age. We decided that, a few years down the road, when they stop the Lupron, were the PSA to go back up, it'd be a tad late for "WHOOPS....".

So, Monday, at 2:30 pm, I begin with the first episode of the Nuking Of Yours Truly. On a Tomotherapy machine like the one in the picture. It's best described as a combination CAT Scan machine with built in Radiation treatment thingamajig. I think they'll have me painted up with some permanent paint that the machine can read, and then the machine will know just where to microwave my innards. As opposed to stretching me out for an hour or so and manually aiming the machines at the marks painted all oooooooooover my boddddddy.

Which is how long Peg spent each time, on that table, while they took aim on her some 12 16 years ago (wow, time flies). They tell me I'll walk OUT the door within 10 to 20 minutes after walking IN the door.

Only downside I can think of is that Tom lives over at Vince's place (actually St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham .. over there on the right). That's about a 25 minute drive, each way. At my age, 50 minutes of driving a day for 37 consecutive days .. well, they DO give me the weekends off ... may be the most dangerous thing in my life.

37 treatments. Hmmmm .... I have this scene chasing through my mind ... guys in white coats saying "OK ... let's do ... THIRTY SIX treatments. Uhh .. wait ... let's be sure, and make it THIRTY EIGHT. Uhh ... no ... make it THIRTY SEVEN! Yeah .. THAT'S the ticket!"

I'm sure they have a more precise method, but this thing keeps playing in my (admittedly twisted) mind.

Oh ... I guess there is one other downside. Treatments won't get finished until after the first of the year, and I haven't the faintest idea what to get Tom & Vince for Christmas.

It'll be an interesting ride. The doctor says I may experience some loss of energy, so I asked her if it'd interfere with sitting in my recliner watching TV. She said probably not.


Stay tuned. It's apt to get really, really boring.


**UPDATE**

Had my first treatment today. As my tech said, it was kind of anti-climactic.

I showed up at 2:30 and simply walked into the men's changing room and put on the gown. Never sat down, and when I had the gown on and left the little booth, a nice lady said follow her. The first time I sat down was on the edge of the table. They got me into position, ran me through for a CAT scan. Then, after 4 or 5 minutes of pondering and adjusting by the doctor, they ran me through again. Only this time with radiation on.

For 586.8 seconds.

You heard me right.

Then, I got up and left the room. 30 minutes, start to finish. The real irony? Peg and I had to wait about 35 minutes for the oncologist to come in and say that was that, and I could come home.

Like some wag once said, there's a whole lot less to it than meets the eye. Except the machine does a whole lot MORE ......

Interesting point: my tech is Norman Wood. I go to church with him. In fact, we have somewhat of a common bond .. we both have a lingering illness, but feel fine. Mine's prostate cancer; his is MS, currently well controlled by meds.

Great guy.


I doubt I'll notice it, then.

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7 Comments:

At 9:15 AM, November 15, 2008, Blogger Scotte Hodel said...

"I doubt I'll notice it then." Thanks for a smile to start our morning!

 
At 10:27 AM, November 16, 2008, Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

Praying for you. Doesn't sound fun.

 
At 3:10 PM, November 16, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a gentleman, Laurens Pierce, that drove from Montgomery to Birmingham to receive his TomoTherapy treatments there. He has his story on the TomoTherapy website at:
http://www.tomotherapy.com/patient/profiles/pt_lpierce/

And if you have questions and would like to contact him, you can click the link in the blue box on that page.

All the best as you go through your treatment.

 
At 5:07 PM, November 16, 2008, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Anonymous,

The link points to a company website touting the Tomotherapy approach, but I appreciate it, nonetheless.

My case is different. I no longer have a prostate to nuke; they're going after an enlarged lymph node.

A few weeks ago, I sat down with a contractor and picked out the siding we wanted for our house. The upcoming therapy, however, wasn't like that; I went to see the radiological oncologist my surgeon recommended, and this is what she does. So this is what we'll do.

 
At 10:48 AM, November 17, 2008, Blogger Debbie said...

Will be praying for you and your family. And enjoy that recliner!

 
At 12:46 AM, November 18, 2008, Blogger MerCleve said...

I'm just glad that you were the one following her and not her following you on account of the whole hospital gown thing... We'll you catch my draft, I mean drift! :)
Anyway, we prayed for you during class tonight. 1 down 36 to go!

Miss you and Grandma a ton. See you soon!
Much love,
MER
(The bachelors degree in theology and current seminary student granddaughter) ;)

 
At 5:18 AM, November 18, 2008, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

That would, indeed, have been a Bad Moon Rising......

 

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