Pelvis will be on the Radio soon

Posted on October 3rd, 2007 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

We went to radiotherapy as per usual. As I mentioned, I have been going through cycles of shivering or sweating, feeling completely chilled or overheating. Although I have been feeling a little better, I still haven’t completely got over this chest infection. This morning I was sweating so my concerned Registrar called us and asked me to check back into hospital for IV antibiotic treatment. Although the infection was originally viral, it seems to have developed a bacterial component that can be treated. As there were no beds available and a huge wait at ED, the Registrar arranged for my treatment to be done as an outpatient over three days after my radiotherapy.
While I was having my antibiotic injection, the Registrar also arranged my measure up in preparation for another intensive course of radiotherapy to be done on my pelvis. Although we won’t know until next week a more definite diagnosis, everything is gearing up for chemotherapy.
The measure-up made me feel pretty vulnerable. Laying down on the X-ray machine, having to take slide down every article of clothing covering my ‘pelvic’ region. Thankfully, they provided a ‘modesty sheet’.
So here I am, lying dead still in an X-ray machine, with a team of Radiotherapy Technicians drawing around my ‘groinal’ region (add it to the list of ‘Will Become a Word One Day’). While they are measuring, drawing and adjusting the machine, I am praying that a loose thread of the modesty sheet doesn’t get caught on someone’s watch when they walk away, or a slight breeze doesn’t send the sheet fluttering to the ground.
One of the anatomical locators for measurement seems to be the top of my (insert whistling sound here). It’s not the place you want cold steel rulers or tattoo implements anywhere near. Well, I don’t. Once all the measurements had been done, they gave me another tattoo as a reference point and sent me on my merry way. They are intending to do some intensive booster radiotherapy sessions on my pelvis when it is confirmed a plasmacytoma. So ends another day.


The Chest Infection Section

Posted on October 2nd, 2007 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

This has been one of the most uncomfortable, unpleasant, horrid weeks I can remember. To be given clearance to leave hospital after a week to go into a week of viral chest infection was a fish, frying-pan, fire situation. Not pretty.
I have had chronic headaches, photophobia, coughing fits, a peak temp of 40.1 degrees, uncontrollable shivering, sweating, sleepless nights and an aching body. My routine involved moving back and forth between bed, couch and bathroom. Just not a nice week. I haven’t been up to doing anything else.
I had my routine check-up with Radiation Oncology today. They sent me down for another chest X-ray to check things out. I seem to be getting better though. I am just exhausted and it will probably take until the end of the week before I am completely over it.

I thought it might be helpful if I explain a bit about this cancer and reasons we are in another time of limbo. There are two names that I have been using for this cancer- Multiple Myeloma (MM) and Plasmacytoma. They are both essentially the same cancer- cancer of the plasma. It hangs out in the larger bones generally (hips, femur, pelvis, etc). If this cancer is only found in one place, they call it a Plasmacytoma (this was the case for me as they only found it in the sternum), or if they find it in multiple locations it is called Multiple Myeloma. Plasmacytoma can be radiated (as in my case) but Multiple Myeloma requires quite a risky and complex process of chemotherapies and stem-cell harvesting/infusions. It can be present, but not necessarily detectible, in the bone marrow as it is patchy.

We have found it helpful to change our thinking about this cancer. We now see it as being very difficult to locate and diagnose. It will mean that whenever I have suspicious injuries or symptoms, I may have to go through testing like I have this last week. We have gone through some very confusing times and learned to be very patient for results. The doctors, nurses and therapists that we are under are superb and they have been incredible every step of the way.

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