The Midterms

Today’s session marked the half-way point in my radiotherapy schedule: 14 sessions down; 14 sessions to go. I had originally been given a schedule of dates (but no times) listing every working day until 1 February. Yesterday, I realised when looking at my Radio Times schedule that the Psychics at Caltech, Dosometrists and Oncologists had worked out my tailored treatment plan and I’m due to finish on 25 January instead. So this post is a half-time report.

Half-Full

  • I’m not suffering from any headaches, nausea or eating difficulties so far.
  • I’ve not had a seizure (or even a meizure) during any of the treatment sessions so far. I had a meizure immediately before one, if you recall, but not while the machine was zapping my brain.
  • The swelling around the Squatter was always likely to increase due to the radiotherapy, which in turn could potentially increase the frequency of seizures and decrease my mobility. On the contrary, the seizure frequency has gone down during the first half and my mobility has gone up. It’s likely the result of being on Steroids but, whatever the reason, I’m grateful.
  • I’m not feeling exhausted.
  • I’m not having an old “friend” for breakfast anymore – today marked the first day without the Chocolate Fire Guard in my morning cocktail. That’s one less tablet to take at least! It marks the end of a dysfunctional relationship, of which the undoubted low point was You can’t handle the Phenytoin.
  • I haven’t lost all my hair! Here was today’s headwear:

img_1851

Half-Empty

  • I’ve lost more of my hair quicker than I expected. The only update to Hair Today, Gone Yesterday is that I’ve lost a few more strands throughout each day but nothing like the giant clumps of matted matter formerly known as hair.
  • I’m not getting much more than six hours’ sleep a night, which I’m certain is down to the Steroids, as I’m not lying awake worrying or stressing or having deep and meaningful thoughts.
  • As a result of the lack of sleep and Radio, I’m feeling tired and need to lie down for much of the day. Sometimes I need to close my eyes and rest but sometimes the lying down itself is enough to ward off seizures, meizures and general tiredness.
  • I had a funny turn yesterday in a non-seizure way when I felt myself feeling faint after a bath. It resulted in me missing a blood test to check my thyroxine levels.

Glass is Too Big

  • My temperature control is going haywire but it’s manageable. I usually realise earlier than before when I’m starting to overheat and consequently the cold flannels and fluid intake is brought forward in time to thwart the warmth.
  • I have the window open almost all of the time, while the fire is blaring in the living room. This means that Mr C often has his new down gilet on when he’s with me in the Ice Hotel, and others wear coats/blankets when visiting, while I can’t go into Dante’s Inferno. Still, it means that every living creature from a polar bear to a lizard could probably find a climate to suit them in this house!
  • I had seizure activity yesterday of a type that didn’t fall neatly into my doozie and meizure categories. May I introduce you to the inbetweeizure. It was more than a meizure but, although it lasted as long as a doozie and I had the rumblings of the contracting and contorting cramping that is the hallmark of the painful right-sided doozies from top to toe, it didn’t develop further.
  • As I noted above, the seizures have generally reduced over the last few weeks, going from averaging one a day to averaging three or four a week. Further, the recovery time after a seizure is noticeably quicker. That said, it’s all unpredictable, be it tiredness, overheating, seizures, near passing out, headaches etc, though, so I can’t count my chickens. We will see if the second half brings more or less of the same, anything new and/or a blast from the past.

4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42

I learned pretty quickly the sequence of Bingo numbers the two radiographers check and verify at the beginning of each and every session of radiotherapy. However, I couldn’t work out what the first number referred to so, frustratingly, I had to ask after about four or five sessions of fruitlessly trying to work it out for myself. I console myself about my failure to solve the puzzle on two fronts: I’m not a trained radiographer; and, from my prone position in The Mask, I can see not what they are doing when they shout out the numbers!

The magic numbers are “95.5“, “minus 1.7 on the lateral”, “minus 2.3 on the long”, “plus 7 whole ones on the vert”, “89.5” and “93.5“.

The first one that I couldn’t work out is the target measurement from the radiotherapy machine in its baseline position above my head to one of the specific stickers marking a spot on the Mask. The margin of error is such that even when the measurement has been 95.1, it’s been deemed “very good”, but it’s generally been hovering around 95.3 or 95.4 so far. Once they’ve established that base position, further Bingo numbers are called.

The next three were easy to work out as it’s the 3D coordinates that I’m moved into to get me from the base position to the zapping positions that have been calculated for the optimum angles from which the machine can swarm around me and hit the Squatter right in the noggin. I’m almost certain that this is how it’s recorded in my medical notes.

When I’ve been moved to those coordinates, the machine is moved into the position from which the zapping will commence. Thus, the final Bingo numbers are called, which are measurements from the starting treatment position of the machine to the Markers on The Mask.

Planet Mongo

I’ve been morphing the Matrix with Star Wars and other sci-fI concepts in my mind’s eye as I lie there hearing the two distinct sounds of (a) the Machine (or, the Spaceship) moving into position for each zap; and, (b) the zaps themselves. This week, I have opened my eyes a lot more during the process, which is possible when wearing The Mask, although I can only see a meshed version of what is directly above me (either the ceiling or the Spaceship when it hovers over me).

I had a half-formed thought of wondering whether it was wise to open my eyes from an exposure point of view as the radiographers always leave the room during the treatment. Before I had finished the query in my mind, I caught myself (with a chuckle) and thought that if the rays are able to breach my scalp and skull to reach my brain and the Immigrant, they can certainly pass through my eyelids if that’s where the Machine is aiming! Today, as the Spaceship started doing its thing, I imagined the radiographers had instructed it to “Open Fire!”.

Steroids Club

The first rule of Steroids Club is that you talk about Steroids Club. Recently, a friend (geographically far away), a friend’s dog (geographically far away in another direction) and my Mam (geographically couldn’t get any closer!) have all been prescribed Steroids for cold-related chest infections and ear-related issues. Anyone else want to admit to jumping on the attention-seeking bandwagon? If so, you know what to do if you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit.

rx

 

 

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