Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hold still.......

7 down, 13 to go.   Not that I'm counting or anything. 

The first week of treatment was fairly anti-dramatic.  Getting in and out of UTSW is easy, and the staff there is great.  I walk in, take my shirt off, and lie down on the table to get clamped down with the Hannibal mask.   So from the time I walk through the doors to the start of treatment is literally 3 minutes tops.  A few adjustments on the table, pulling or moving me slightly, and checking the green lasers that come from the corners of the room to make sure I'm in the exact position needed, and the tech says "Ok, here we go.........hold still!!!!!!"

Hold still, really?   Do you think that I can move, or slide any direction?  I can't move my lips or my eye there a real fear that I'm going to move 5 inches down the table?   With that said, this is me, bolted to the table, getting ready for the Mega Radiator 2000 (which Mindy mistakenly called the Mega Radiator 1000 this I would use that old 1000 technology!!!!!)

A guy in the office that saw this picture on my cell phone said "dude, you need sun!!"   To which someone said "did you just tell a guy with melanoma he needs sun????"  Well played.
So the first week is over, and other than a swollen jaw and some discomfort there, and a slightly sore throat, no big deal other than starting to feel overall fatigued.  
7 down, 13 to go......did I mention that?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Good luck in the "Tunle"!!!

I have great pure accident, luck and mostly because of my wife...but they are great Christian kids.   CC, AMP and I have a little thing we do.   I write in a journal, leave it on their nightstand, and they write back and leave it on my nightstand.  (I can't take credit for this.......another D invention)   But the "letters" that we write each other are great, and their insight and humor is classic.   Much like the post it note that was left on my mirror, and the journal entry that AMP left for me last night.   Side note:   The girls don't know much.   They know Daddy had surgery, and he's had them before and always seems to be ok, and that he sometimes feels crummy, but again, always seems to be ok.  But they started to ask more questions over the weekend after multiple people have reached out to us and mentioned treatments starting today.  So D explained, best you can, to a 9 and 7 yr old the process of radiation.   A wrote me this note:

AMP is in first grade, so she can write a full letter, but almost all phonetically.   If you need translation:   "I hope it doesn't hurt when you get in the tunnel."

And I had this on my mirror:


Yes, I feel loved and covered in prayer today, through friends and family, and my wonderful girls.   Yes, a little nervous just because of the unknown.   I'm such an "expert" at Interferon and pegated Sylatron......switching to a new treatment brings the unknow.   But notes like those above are priceless!!!!!


Friday, January 10, 2014

And now the plan has times!

This morning I got to UTSW at 9:55 (I'm VERY timely) and didn't get to go back until 10:40 (they apparently are NOT).  Not that big of a deal, but if this is a preview to how "on time" they run, it's not a good sign.   I went in the radiation room and the Mega Radiator 2000 is pretty cool.   Some very high tech stuff going on from the hallway, where they have 10+ monitors, and screens to see you in the room, and the room and machine itself are pretty cool.    On the table they bolted me down with the Hannibal mask, and moved me all around to get me set, then the table "shakes" a bit, as it's moving in fractions of a millimeter to get me in the same position every time.   They took some scans and xrays and I was done in about 10 minutes.    It should take 15 minutes each time, with an extra 10 minutes once a week for additional scans with the treatment.   I did laugh once when I tried to open my eyes a bit, and my eye could see out a very small hole in the mask, and I saw bluebonnets on the ceiling.   Not just a painting, but when the machine turns on, a backlit mural peaceful and calming, I almost forgot I couldn't breathe!!!   (side it "breathe" or "breath".....either way, you know I couldn't suck in any air.   And if you ever want comedy, have Avery do her fake British accent for you......classic)

I also got the schedule with times for the next 4 weeks.    They warned me the first week sucks, as I'm low on the list, and they were right.  

Monday 5:20 pm  (traffic will be fun)
Tues 8:00 am
Wed 10:30 am
Thurs 5:20 pm
Fri  5:50 pm

So Monday, Thurs and Fri will suck, but oh well.   Every day after that I'm the first appointment available for head and neck at 7:30 am, which is a good time.

I'm ready to get this show on the road!!!!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

We Have a Plan!!!!!

If you know me, you know that I like it when there is a plan in place........and we have a plan.   We have decided to go with UTSW Radiology and started the process last week.   As I mentioned in the last post, I had a dentist appointment last week.   They took a bunch of xrays and said everything looked pretty good but he wanted me to start getting checked by him every 3 months.   Seems the Mega Radiator 2000 can be hard on teeth........mainly the roots of a tooth, and apparently in dental school they learned that teeth need roots...who knew!?   If at any point I start having issues with the lower jaw on the right side, I'm thinking "Pull them all!!!!!!!!"   I've seen those infomercials on at 2:00 am, I can get a perfect set of choppers for $200!!!!!   Yes, I have to travel to West Virginia for the new teeth, but I think it will be worth it!

Plan for the teeth in place, on to the Hannibal mask.     They want to fit the mask, and do a CT scan right after.   So the mask thingy is pretty interesting.   It starts as a hard plastic sheet, in the basic shape of your shoulders and looks like one of the silhouettes that you shoot at the pistol range.   They put it in very hot water, and wait for it to soften a bit, then holding my head in the exact position they want, push it over my face/head and bolt it into the table.   Then the techs push it tight against my face and neck, and start blowing cold air on it from a hose, to help it harden faster.   After a couple minutes it's back to solid plastic, and I ain't not a millimeter.   Slide me in the CT scan and I'm done in 10 minutes.   The techs pull me out and put some tape and write with a Sharpie on the form some numbers and measurements.    Pop the form off and I can breathe again......good times.

This Friday at 10:00 am I have a "practice run" through the entire process.  They want to make sure you can get back in the form, and the Mega Radiatior 2000 goes through it's calculated movements, just without the radiation.    Just making sure it goes and points at the correct areas.    Then Monday I start the actual process.   Not sure on the time yet.......I would love to have the 7:00 am every day, but that is a "very popular time Mr. Peters".    Old people......they like to get up early, get zapped, have the LuAnn platter at 4:15, and bed after the 5:30 nightly news with Brian Williams.  

But we have a plan, have dates set.......5 times a week for 4 weeks starting Monday.......Giddy Up!


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Radiation Appointment #2

There are times when I'm amazed at great customer service, not because I don't expect or hope for it, but because it seems to be rare these days.   This morning I was pleasantly surprised when Dr. C walked in and said "Dr. F and I have met a couple of times to talk about you and your case, I know your history of treatments, surgeries and current choices for first of all, how was your bow hunting last fall, Dr. F tells me you love to bow hunt."    Dasha and I were thrilled with her level of explanation of the radiation process, and why she thought the 5 bigger doses of treatment was NOT the way to go (although she said it would work fine also) but instead to do 4 weeks of lower dosage 5 days a week.   The main reason for the change in protocal is the tissue around the area that is being radiated isn't effected negatively as much with the lower dosage.......or so is the hope.   Another interesting thing is they want me to see my dentist today........because the lower jaw on my right side will have some nerve and blood flow damage, so any dental work that may need to be done should be done now, and they want to have my dentist set a schedule for cleanings more often, ect....   I tell Dr. C that I've been trying to get in to see my dentist for 2+ weeks (after Radiation appt #1 told me the same thing)......her assistant asks who my dentist is, steps in the hall, comes back in 5 minutes and says "you have a 9:00 am appointment in the morning, I talked to your dentist, and we are all on the same page."   Back to that customer service........I'm impressed.   I also have a 1:30 appointment back at UTSW Radiology tomorrow to have a CT scan to map out where vocal cords are, salivary glands, ect.....   And I'm hoping they also fit me for the super cool Hannibal Lecter mask that I wear during treatments.    It takes a week or so after the CT scan and Hannibal mask fitting before I start radiation.   After all of the calculations are run through the computers and set up on the Mega Radiator 2000 (my name for it) and then I'll get scheduled for my first Gamma Ray blast (again, my nickname for it) sometime soon.

If at any time I sounded like I know what I'm talking about in the above post, it's pure luck......hence my trust in Dr. F and Dr. C.   Only lawyers are able to talk about medical procedures and sound like they know what they are talking about, going back to my LONG time belief that "All lawyers want to be doctors".   And when my family of lawyers start talking "law" stuff around the Thanksgiving table, I occassionally say "Tort reform, good or no?" just to see them salivate at the thought that I'm encouraging "law" talk!!!!

Peace out!