Monday, February 16, 2009
CANCER JOURNAL - Home from the Hospital
It seems I've gotten one more reprieve. I came home around noon. When I left for the hospital last Friday, I took a look around the house and didn't expect to see it again.
This latest episode began when I went in for a radiation treatment on my right hip. I walked into a wall in the long hallway from the waiting room back to the treatment room with a technician beside me. She decided that I'd complained of dizziness enough and was showing other symptoms and must see the radiation oncologist before I left the facility.
He ordered a CAT scan of my brain for the next morning and then called with the news that the cancer has invaded my brain in several places and there was really nothing they could do except use radiation and steroids to get the swelling in my brain to go down so that I wouldn't be so dizzy. Thankfully it is working, and although I'm weak, I can still move around on my own. I did pass out in the hospital at one point.
Ironically this came at the time when we were packing for a cruise that we had been anticipating to celebrate our 39th anniversary. A trip that alas will never be taken since the night before we were supposed to leave I knew that I wasn't capable of making it. Thank goodness we had the good sense to cancel it because this would not have been a good experience in a foreign country with rapidly progressing cancer in my brain.
The method of doing the radiation is interesting. A mask is made of the face by placing a wet substance on it and letting that dry. It fits tight around my nose, eyes and mouth and made me feel claustrophobic even though there are plenty of air holes. The lines demarcating where the radiation will penetrate can then be drawn on the mask instead of my face. Much better for going out in public.
Radiation will make my hair fall out once again. It had just grown back to the point that I looked like me in the mirror. I am simply going to have to form a new attitude toward this because I am going to die without my hair on after all.
My radiation oncologist has given me two to seven months. My oncologist said she had one patient who was still alive a year after such a diagnosis. She says it will depend upon where the cancer goes next. There is only one drug that can penetrate the brain barrier and I will be taking it.
Wish I had better news. It looks like only a miracle will keep me alive now.