Monday, July 7, 2008

DAY 40 - Another Day in Paradise

Well the past is coming to a close: 60+ years...the FUTURE begins tomorrow at 9am. FINALLY, treatment is about to begin. I have my first radiation treatment [1 of 35] tomorrow morning and then my first chemo [1 of 3] treatment [3 hour session] at 1:30 pm. Then it will be a daily [M-F] regimen of radiation treatment for the next 7 weeks with a chemo boost thrown in for good measure on treatment days 17 and 35. Lise cut my hair about as short as you can get without getting I will get a jump on the hair loss thing.

Today was a test fitting of my custom-made radiation mask and another set of x-rays before the real deal tomorrow. I had Lise take a picture of me on the treatment table. Your head is not going to move at all with this thing on- you are literally bolted down to the table. It covers your shoulders also, so you are not going (or wiggling) anywhere. It is porous, so you can breathe - but can't see too well- A: I have my glasses off and B: the mesh is tight against your eyes. I am not claustrophobic (thank God) - but I did notice my heart rate accelerating a bit...You have a rubber ring to hold onto, as the table is narrow and they don't want your arms to flop around and they put a big rubber band around your feet to keep them together.

With all the rubber, latex and restraints.....I started to laugh, as there are some that would pay extra for this sort of thing...but as you can see in the picture, laughing is also not easy as there is a big rubber pad in your mouth with a giant popsicle stick attached to it - popping up out of the mask. I had Lise take the picture, as I couldn't possibly describe this situation and have it make any sense. There is a "x marks the spot" target on the side, so the radiation hits the same spot every time.

As I can bring in my own CD to play while I am doing this, I have chosen Born to be Wild. I wore this song out on 8 track - 4 track, and cassette tape (if you are not in the Classic Rock -n - Roll age group; this is pre-iPod) . I get to listen to it (as do the techs) at least 35 more times. Back in the day- I had a 650 BSA motorcycle that was chocolate and chrome- extended front forks, tear drop tank [ala Peter Fonda in Easy Rider]. Hell, I only weighed about 130 lbs in wet leather and hair that tucked into my belt in the back...that bike was heavier than I was and I was fine as long as it was moving - it was when I stopped that I had a hard time keeping it upright. From somebody else's point of view it was probably pretty funny thing to watch...but I thought I was cool, so it worked.

The true discomfort today was that they had Perry Como on the house CD, I was strapped down and could not perspective, it could have been Rap - so I survived the test- ha.

Like a true nature's child
We were born, born to be wild
We can climb so high
I never wanna die

Born to be wild
Born to be wild

We also met with the Nutritionist and once again discussed the feeding tube - affectionately known as PEG. The expected weight loss is 20 to 50 lbs. I just bulked up to 160, eating like a pig - so I can give them the 20, but that is it. This is a hell of a weight loss program...take note Jenny Craig fans. I supposed that if you swallowed razor blades and put screaming-hot melted cheese in your mouth and threw up a lot you could replicate the program.

I got a bit of a shocker today from the nutritionist. I was figuring this would start getting better after the 7 weeks were up and figured I could tough that out. What I heard today is that at the end of the 7 weeks it starts to get really bad and that I might not be able to eat normally until Christmas or longer. That is 6 months of the demented Jenny Craig program. I am not as sure of my level of toughness on this one. I am determined to not get the feeding tube if I can get through otherwise. I have to consume 2500 calories a day to maintain my weight which is 10 cans of Ensure every day for 6 months....aaaaarrrggghhhh.

This is passing through my daughter's Birthday, my birthday, our anniversary, my wife's birthday, two son's birthdays, Thanksgiving and perhaps Christmas. I did the steak and potatoes thing tonight as it may be awhile. I heard that you can actually whirl a pizza in a blender - I suppose that if you mixed it with Jack Daniels and a Vicodin you would cover all your bases - nutrition and attitude wise.

Song of the Day: Steppenwolf - Born To Be Wild

Wikipedia: Mask: A mask is an artefact normally worn on the face, typically for protection, concealment, performance, or amusement.
I am thinking amusement at this point, but may not think so a few more weeks down the road.

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