Square One

After a couple of initial visits to a closer hospital for the start of my radiation treatments, I’ve decided to return to my beloved SCOA for my radiation, despite the hour and 20 minute long drive to Columbia it will take to get there.  (Times 2- for round trip, for 45 days of treatment…yikes.   But completely worth it, in my opinion.)

This is after a panicked call to Dusty, my SCOA oncology nurse, after I just wasn’t “feeling” my new oncology center. (My only reason for trying out the new center was simply for the fact that it was closer.)   She assured me it was her that I was having separation anxiety from and calmed me down.  Still, after a few conversations with Dr. B, my SCOA oncologist-the mac daddy himself- it seems that SCOA will be able to better meet my needs and deliver what he feels is necessary treatment for me.

Apparently, I have some sort of weird narrow chest (and not much in the boob department anyway-no big surprise there) so my treatment will consist of the breath hold treatment, which isn’t as far fetched as it sounds, so they say.  Because of my abnormally (ahem) small upper chest area, my lungs and heart are all squished together making bypassing them a more difficult task than it should be. (Radiation beams are shot across your chest, not into.  I tell you, I should be a medical linguist.)  With the breath-hold technique, the radiologist will be able to minimize as much radiation exposure to my heart as possible by having me breath in and hold, which will push my heart back into the chest cavity.

Yeah, no matter how I explain that, it still sounds a little crazy.

SCOA will use IRMT along with the breath-hold technique.  “Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is an advanced mode of high-precision radiotherapy.”  In other words, all radiation is precise but IRMT is extremely precise.  Another fun little tidbit:  I’m getting a TAT or two!  The radiation oncologists even tattoo patients to ensure precise location of each treatment.  Crazy.  There’s all sorts of molds made and measurements taken.  I was even warned not to fluctuate in weight. It’s all precisely measured and checked and re-checked and checked and monitored again and again.

Because I’ve decided to make the switch to SCOA, I’ll be back at square one, meeting with my radiation oncologist and starting the whole radiation process once again.  March 1st is my (second) initial “Meet your Radiation Oncologist” visit.  This time at SCOA. I’m sure I’ll hear all about it again. (Which is a great thing-I never actually hear them the first time anyway.)

My hair is growing like crazy and it’s totally gray.  I knew I was going gray, but I had NO idea how gray it was until now.  I rarely wear the wig-she’s looking a bit sad anyway, tousled and stringy.  I debated buying another, maybe totally different, but wearing it drives me crazy.  It just feels tight and itchy.  I guess because I actually have real hair underneath now.  (Yay!)  My eyelashes are growing back too, but are a bit odd.  They are wiry and short, like little spider legs.

Life is busy and slowly getting back to normal.  Actually, it’s completely normal.  The only difference is the occasional double-take or lingering look in the grocery store or gas station from my Sinead O’Connor do.  It’s liberating to be out in public and completely fine with my “not so typical”  look.  A year ago, I would have never thought I’d be brave enough to be out in public with a near shaved head.

Funny how much can change in a year, or even a blink of an eye for that matter.


KATE  on February 23rd, 2012

i’m glad to hear you’ll be back at scoa. they are very good to you there. if you’re happy, i am happy. i love you! you are the best.

Judy and Walter Brown  on February 23rd, 2012

You have always made your decisions based on educating yourself completely on the problem and possibilities and relying on your faith. I have no doubt that your decision is the best one for you. I admire you beyond measure and we are still praying……..

cici  on February 23rd, 2012

I am glad you are going where you are most comfortable and they know you better. Jaime Lee Curtis looks stunning with short gray hair, it’s the new look! 🙂 Talika eyelash conditioner sold at Sephora works great on growing nice eyelashes.
Keep us updated with pics. 🙂

Cathy F.  on February 23rd, 2012

Dad will be happy to see you… you will have to come up and see him….. SCOA is an amazing place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Terri Woodham  on February 23rd, 2012

So happy you’re going to SCOA-I think you’ll feel more comfortable-If you’re happy; I’m happy-too.
love you, Mom
you should have been a doctor!