He came in, we did a quick abdominal exam and started our discussions. As I had planned, leaving it alone to see if the chemo in my system continued to shrink it wasn't even an option discussed. Option two was continuing with the same chemo, which we breezed over. We really discussed moving forward to Cistplatin chemo once per week with radiation five days per week. We asked a few questions, main one being are we burning a bridge by using radiation now. What if we have another reoccurrence. In short, we have to deal with what we have now or it won't go away. So, on to meet the radiologist/oncologist.
Today, Friday, I met the my radiologist/oncologist, Dr. Dugan. He is fabulous also! We went through the entire medical history, did an internal exam, and got started talking about what his treatment plan would be. He explained that I was on the tumor board Monday and his first question was "has she had rads?" because the location and size of the tumors now makes me a perfect candidate now. He took time to explain before that my tumors and lymph nodes which were impacted were too large and spread out and that we couldn't do radiation before. The chemo has been successfully doing its job and now it is time to let radiation do its job.
He explained that with continued chemo we would never fully eradicate the disease. Radiation is the way to get rid of the cancer. At 29 we want to "get rid of the cancer before it gets rid of you". He wants to attack this aggressively, which I 100% agree with. We are looking at 6+ weeks of radiation. Most likely only external but won't know for sure until he does a few more tests which I have scheduled.
There is a mass on my left side showing up, it isn't showing up as a cancer color on the PET scan but he wanted to look further into it so we are doing an MRI on Monday. The mass on the left side could just be an enlarged ovary. I appreciate that he is being extra cautious.
Tuesday I have a CT Simulation/Planning Session. During this session basic treatment marks will be placed on my skin for where the treatment will be. If a positioning device is needed (to make sure I am in the same position each time) the measurements will all come from this CT scan.
Planning time comes next, all the information gathered from the MRI and CT scan will be used for the Radiation Oncologist to determine the dose and number of treatments I will receive. This planning time can take up to five days. After the treatment plan is approved I will get to setup my schedule.
I will need to go in for a verification day. On this day the radiation therapist will take additional films and measurements on the actual treatment machine to ensure that all the information from the planning session was accurate. Modifications will be made as needed. During this time I might get the marks placed back over my treatment area.
I will get to meet with my radiation/oncologist weekly during these treatments, that made me feel better in case I had more questions that I didn't ask today.
Today was hectic. While I was signing into the doctor office I got a phone call from Wylee's school that he had a fever so JR had to divert and pick up Wylee so I attended the appointment alone.
I found out that the immediate effects of radiation will be fatigue, bowel, and bladder concerns. These are symptoms which will build. The long term effect to consider was a possible bowel obstruction which would need surgery. He feels confident the radiation will not impact my joints (hips in this case).
However, since I am going to be in full blown menopause I will need to continue my HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and should consider starting calcium supplements.
There was a lot of dry, medical information here today. It is, however, the questions everyone has had so far. I am going to do another post. Maybe immediately after this about a more emotional side. This is medical and should hopefully answer some questions.