Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Here's proof that I was checked in for my treatment today. (I'm the second name from the top.) You come in the front door, click the box next to your name on the screen to check in, and then go into the waiting room until you're called. One of the therapists (Mike, Niki, Beverly or Derrick) puts a sticker on your valet parking ticket every day so it's free. Every day except Tuesday you just get your treatment and go.
On Tuesdays, we're here for much longer since every one sees Dr. Godette, our Radiation Oncologist today. She said everything looks good so far, and the very minor side effects I'm experiencing (swelling at night, slight redness) are to be expected at this point. The only fatigue I have so far is really just long term from the emotional rollercoaster I've been on with this since June, only just finding out I actually HAD cancer ~August 12, got my final diagnosis of "undifferentiated sarcoma" on August 20, and of course the physical healing from surgery August 4 and the fall schedule ramping up already at church.
Now it's time for ME to rest for a while so my leg doesn't swell up too early in the day. I was up way too late catching up with my blog, and I'll try to stay current from here on out.
Signing off for now. Just wanted to say thanks again to everyone for your continued prayers, especially all my wonderful friends at St. James in Mukwonago (and elsewhere in WI) and in Baltimore, MD as well as here at St. Monica in Duluth, GA, and to my friends and family in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi and various other places around the world. Mom, Aunt Evie and Aunt Jan are coming to visit over the weekend, and I'm looking forward to that! (And hi to my Emory waiting room friends, Heather and Joya!) Joya is in her final countdown-she finishes her radiation on Monday. WOO-HOO!
Monday, September 15, 2008
I drive downtown for 45 minutes to 1-1/2 hours each way every day for a very expensive treatment that lasts maybe 40 seconds. (Although some days the wait can be fairly long.) On Tuesdays my appointments are much longer because Dr. Godette sees all the patients personally to check on their progress, monitor any side effects and answer any questions we might have.
I asked Mike if they get many repeat "customers." He said no, which was reassuring, but that people DO come back to say "hi" just because they like them.
Today I was at the hospital for several hours because I had to fill out forms requesting that errors I found in my medical records be corrected. I had to fill out ANOTHER form requesting to set up an appointment to see ALL of my records, but I really want my baseline records to be as accurate as possible, and the number of transcription errors and typos were somewhat disturbing. They don't make it easy for you to FIX these either, but I think it's worth it to just take care of all this NOW since I'm downtown every day anyway.
The other photos are Brenda (one of the nurses) at the desk, and in the treatment room, Niki and Beverly. I promised Beverly I'd block out her face since she REALLLLLY didn't want her picture taken right then, and Mike took it anyway.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
A lot has happened since I wrote last, but it's too late tonight to catch up. So here's a picture I took in the waiting room on September 9. Here's Joya, me and Heather, waiting to get our radiation treatments. How on earth did all of us wind up with cancer?!
Joya has breast cancer, and she had to go through chemo as well, but is doing great. Heather has a type of sarcoma too (it was a low-grade sarcoma that was on the front of her leg for at least six years!) Neither of us needs chemo, but Heather will need another surgery after radiation since her doctor did NOT expect her tumor to be malignant, and they need to go back in and scrape out her leg to make sure everything's gone. Again, I'm just so amazingly lucky that Dr. Oskouei (and apparently Dr. Maxa, since he referred me to Emory) suspected sarcoma from the beginning.
Although the drive downtown every day is tedious, it has been really interesting and encouraging getting to know other people who are going through this at the same time. Without exception, every other patient I've spoken with is extremely optimistic about their prognosis. We ALL feel very blessed.
Bye for now. I'll have to backtrack a few days to put some pictures on from Bubba & Aida's visit during their evacuation from Hurricane Gustav during Labor Day week, and then I'll post some more pictures of people who work at the Emory Winship Cancer Institute, including some pictures of me on the table preparing to get my treatment. (So be sure to look BACKWARDS in this blog to Labor Day week since I didn't actually get around to posting that stuff till 9/16/08.)
Tomorrow is 9/11. Hard to believe 7 years have passed since the terrorist attacks. The choir is singing at a special Mass, and then we'll practice for the weekend after that.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
The white marks are my "permanent" marks now. The area within the black outline is the area being irradiated. I can remove that; I asked them to mark it for me so I could see the actual area that I need to put the medicine on, and so I could show everyone via this blog what was happening.
The first visit took longer than any others will, because after my first treatment, Ann (the nurse practictioner) and Dr. Godette both talked to me for a while.
Bubba, Aida and the girls went down to Destin for a little vacation at the beach instead of heading back to New Orleans just to sit in the traffic again since people are only being allowed to come back just now. They will go back on Saturday. Mom and Dad evacuated to Aunt Jan's in Ocean Springs, MS, and they'll go back tomorrow or Friday.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Bubba and Aida, Allie and Amie, Vicki, the two birds and all their valuables arrived yesterday afternoon after they spending the night in Birmingham, Alabama since it took them 17 hours to get just that far from New Orleans in the evacuation traffic for Hurricane Gustav.
Bill and I both feverishly researched hotels on the internet for at LEAST three hours straight, and the only one we could find at all that still had room was in Birmingham. There was nothing at all in Mississippi along Hwy 59/20, the route they decided to take, and it took them FOREVER just to get past Meridian. Had they attempted to get all the way to Atlanta, they wouldn't have arrived until 5 a.m. and would have been on the road for ~21 hours straight.
They said the hotel was PACKED with people and all their pets and valuables. Bill had called the hotel about an hour after we made the reservation and pretended he was Bubba calling, wondering if they might be turned away since pets weren't allowed and nothing else was available. The hotel was already sold out by then, but they verified that they WERE holding a reservation for him, and yes, Vicki (their Dalmatian) would be OK.
I cried on Sunday night, overwhelmed that I would have a house full of people and animals in the same week radiation was starting and our first choir practice of the season was happening, when I had absolutely no time or energy to prepare myself for all of this. It was great to see the family but since my surgery, I had only had "close to normal" energy levels for maybe two days before they arrived, and I've been too exhausted to think straight, much less get any work done to prepare for the fall. But all was fine. I kept Sybil locked up in the bedroom and master bath the entire time they were here so Vicki could have run of the house, and the kids are really well behaved. The timing was just really stressful, though.