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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Day 412 - Radiology & A Smashing Good Time

Our roaring start was more like a meow than a roar. We lost power shortly after I got out of the shower. Apparently Kevin knew it was going to go off sometime this week, but didn't know for sure. Oh well. Then the car had a flat tire. Then the Starbucks was out of chai tea, so we had to find another one.

We made it to the house in time to use the loo, drop off the girls & motor into the city. We were only 15 minutes late & then ended up waiting another 20 for the doctor. Dr. Balogh was the Radiologist I was seeing today. I had heard prior 'things' about him from past patients, but I decided to form my own opinion. He obviously believes he is very good at what he does. I don't necessarily appreciate over-confidence. A few key points from the appointment.

They want me to do a PET scan before radiation. (equivalent to 500+ chest xrays or 5 years cosmic radiation)
They want me to do a CAT scan prior to radiation. (ditto on the radiation.)
They want me to do a PET scan post-radiation. (ditto on the radiation.)

**Remember that I've already had 3 CAT scans in 2010. So simple math tells me that I would be receiving, in 12 months or less, 3000 chest x-rays or 30 years worth of cosmic radiation. That doesn't include the radiation from the actual treatment either!**

I commented on the amount of radiation I would be receiving & Dr. Balogh told me that I get just as much, if not more radiation just from living in Calgary. I told him I don't live in Calgary, I live in Bragg Creek. He said, 'Close enough, same thing.' Yeah, I don't think so.

Which brings me to my next point. Originally Dr. Daly had thought that I would have only the left side of my neck radiated. Dr. Balogh wants to do both sides of my neck, my underarm & my chest! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Stop the train!

I have researched & apparently radiation treatments can CAUSE lung, breast & thyroid cancer. Adding to the 30-40% chance of hypothyroidism, leading to a lifetime of Thyroxin. No thanks! The amount of breast cancer showing up 25 years or less post-radiation is startling. I asked Dr. Balogh about the stats on radiation & he said, 'Statistics don't matter to the individual'. No, they don't, but they do matter to Doctors & if they improve my chances of survival greater than the risk of complications down the road, talk to me. I don't feel that this is the case.

We also discussed several other diseases & inflammations that may lead to death shortly after finishing treatments. Pericarditis, pneumonitis, coronary artery disease - just to mention the big ones!

He had consent forms ready for me to sign. I didn't. I want to 'phone a friend' or two or three & certainly discuss it with my husband before I decide anything. At this point, it's not looking good for radiation.

I left the room feeling quite angry, like I was being bullied into radiation & that I was just a 'commoner' who didn't have a mind to think for herself. Grrr! Alas, I had one more stop in the Tom Baker before we left. I had to have the dressing changed on the Picc line. Luckily one of the nurses were able to help me. He washed it with saline & put a new kind of tagaderm on it, with some kind of barrier on it. I'm hoping I'll make it through the weekend without any problems!

Roxy & I drove to Journey of Health next. It's a raw food store & we were both excited to go there. Unfortunately the owners didn't impress us much. They have a decent selection of goods, but the lady was on the phone screaming at a Travel Agent, at a desk right by the entrance. The man tried to hook me into a network marketing ploy to sell the ORIGINAL Chi Machine - within the first 10 minutes! Why are people always trying to sell something? I won't be back for awhile! They have good books, but their raw chocolate is terrible!

We decided to go for dinner after that. We ended up at the Broken Plate. They have wonderful Greek food, which Roxy hasn't eaten that much of. We ordered a jalopy of appetizers & a Horiatiki salad. At the end of the meal, Roxy broke a plate for her birthday. She was very apprehensive to do it, thinking it a waste of a good plate, but when the Server told us why, Roxy changed her mind. It feels good to smash a plate every now & then! If you haven't done it, grab your friends & head on out to a good Greek restaurant, enjoy some calamari, hummus & dolmades & break a plate to celebrate afterwards. Maybe you'll get lucky & see some belly dancers while you're there too!

I got home around 8 pm, absolutely shattered (like the plate!). I packed up my things for the weekend, as I am staying with Mom2 & we are taking a course together. It will be a long weekend, with chemo waiting at the end of it! Joy!

Sleep well, for tomorrow we learn!
xxxx Maria & the Girls & Adios

 The Beautiful Birthday Girl!
The Plate about to be smashed!

Video of the smash: (kind of. I'm a poor Videographer!)


Anonymous said...

Oh, honey. I have a feeling that you're not gonna like my comment. I know that you don't like the thought of being "radiated" in excess. However, back in the days of my x-ray training, we learned a LOT about dosage, dose, etc, etc. I know that it is scary to think about such things, but, did you realize that every time you are in an airplane, you are exposing yourself to radiation, the exact same kind that is found in x-rays? In fact, flying on a plane from Saskatoon to Ottawa is the equivalent of having 60 chest x-rays..and that's just for a one way flight. Let me put it to you this way. You would think nothing of jumping in an airplane to travel to whatever destination you desire for pleasure, happiness, to visit Jaco!!, excitement..you get the picture...regardless of the cost to your health, because it's fun and enjoyable! When radiation is presented in not so pleasant circumstances, you dig in your heels, become incredibly stubborn, toss around things like a doctor's nasty personality, etc, etc. In fact, the reality is that these treatments are NECESSARY to ensure that you DO become 100% healed, so that you CAN enjoy life to its fullest, so that you CAN be a Momma to those twins. You have to remember that this doctor, however condescending his personality may be, is the expert. Not you. Not me! So, be angry, be upset that this is the recommended course of treatment, hate every minute of it!! But, remember all of your reserverations about chemotherapy. It certainly hasn't been a walk in the park, but you've come through it with flying colours, and, most importantly, it's been a SUCCESS!!!
Love ya, girly...take the high road, put 'er in 4x4, and push through the last of this till the end!!
~Julie K. in S'toon

Jill Marie said...

Thank you Julie - for your words, concern & caring thoughts - I'm lucky to have a friend like you who cares & has an education behind the opinion! But! I'm confident in my decision & I'll take the risk of relapse over a secondary cancer from radiation. I've crammed a lot of life into my 31 years & I'll continue to cram as much as I can until the day I die - be it 33, 55, or 88... I have a 'level' of respect I expect from a Doctor & if I don't get it from him or her, that's it. I don't care if he's the best Doc on the planet! I've spoken with a Doc at the Dana-Farber Institute in the States & he has 50+ years experience in lymphoma. He suggested I wait until the PET scan. If it's cold - hooray! If it's hot, go from there. I'm happy with that advice. I'm counting on a cold scan! I will keep you posted in the scan & the results... In the meantime, I'm excited to live again! xxxx

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