November 22, 2015

XRT and gamma knife

Tomorrow is the last day of this round of radiation. It will have been ten days, plus one especially for gamma knife to the brain. Of the four types of radiation treatment, I'll have had three: proton, electron and gamma knife, to five different sites (skin met on scalp, skin met on chest, lymph node on neck, lower right rib and brain).

The gamma knife lasted longer than I recall from my first experience, but of course I insisted on having conscious sedation that time, so I don't remember much. This time I accepted six mg of Ativan instead. The numbing lidocaine injections in their three inch needles (so Rik told me, I didn't see them, thankfully) hurt like the devil, but there's no way around that. At least the pain subsided quickly. I have four more tiny holes on my head, two in front and two in back. Those are covered by hair. They're all healing nicely.

Here are some awful photos. Like my snack and the bubble too? The bubble helps the nurse measure the exact shape of the head. I think the "crown" keeps my head still and must get attached to the gamma knife. They didn't show me that part.

Wearing the bubble
With the "crown" and enjoying second breakfast:
 hot mocha and a croissant 
I sent Rik home once it became clear that the procedure would take hours and he could at least be more productive at home than at the hospital. He didn't want to leave but how awful must it be to sit for so many hours with no involvement in what's going on? And at least he could be with the dogs. Or they with him. Not sure how that worked, exactly.

So, a long day. Dr V gave me a prescription of steroids, tapering slowly down from two mg four times a day over several weeks to none at all. The Decadron disturbs my sleep, but I hope a dose of Ambient will help that tonight. I seem to be fine. That first day afterwards was a bit odd. I think I made many verbal goofs but no one seemed to mind. Much. 

Tomorrow, back to my last session of XRT with the kindest, most respectful technicians since the last time. I gave them some vitamin CH as a small thanks for treating me with such delicacy and caring.

Posing with the face mask for regular radiation

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