Erik MH:

blog entry

Chemo and radi­ation ther­apy begin

original date2017-09-08 20:16 utc
republished2024-06-05 00:43 utc
topicshealth; orig. on PostHope
noteThis post was ori­gin­ally pub­lished at Pos­tHope, where it’s still avail­able, along with sev­er­al pub­lic comments.

At last, on Tues­day I fired my first shots at the Enemy. Everything before had been but pre­lim­in­ary, but on Tues­day I found myself in a com­fy chair in a cosy little room, listen­ing to the Tal­lis Schol­ars singing in Bever­ley Min­ster, with Kar­en beside me in a some­what less com­fy chair. They gave me cute socks and a cook­book, too!

Oh, and of course they sent vari­ous alkalis cours­ing through my blood­stream, too. Again, though this is real chemo­ther­apy, it’s at sig­ni­fic­antly lower doses than “usu­al” — its pur­pose is to make the radi­ation ther­apy just that much more effective.

My week’s work there done, I went down­stairs to the radi­ation labs, where they lay me onto a table con­tain­ing a form that had already been made for my body — to hold me in exactly the same pos­i­tion for each treat­ment. Once I lay down, they took an x‑ray which they com­pared with one from before, and then moved the table in a series of micro­ad­just­ments so that the bones near my eso­phag­us were with­in 1 mm of where they’d been before. The radi­ation itself las­ted just a couple of minutes, with the “ray gun” essen­tially orbit­ing my body in one con­tinu­ous cir­cuit, vary­ing its intens­ity and pre­cise loc­a­tion as it did so, in order to pro­tect as much of my non-can­cer­ous insides as possible.

The battleship-gray Hale telescope inside Palo Alto observatory during daylight hours
This is the Hale Tele­scope; my radi­ation “gun” looks not dissimilar

It’s really quite elegant.

I’ll be spend­ing sev­er­al hours each Monday revis­it­ing my chemo­ther­apy exper­i­ence, and sev­er­al minutes each week­day repeat­ing the radi­ation ther­apy. With each vis­it, there should be less tumor!