Monday, October 29, 2012

Road map to radiation...

Zack and Frank headed out early for a day of treatments as I headed in for a day at work. We were all anxious as we had no idea what to expect. When they arrived the usual vitals were taken. They tried to get blood from his port, but ended up going into his arm. This has become a problem of late. Though he is on blood thinners, the blood clots easily before it even gets to the tube. They started him on IV fluids in preparation for chemotherapy. Once he was set up, they send him downstairs to begin the radiation treatment. Luckily both treatments are in the Cancer Center, which makes it more convenient. 

Radiology began by re-marking his leg. Zack refers to his leg as a road map. We tease about PA (Pennsylvania)  being near the knee. They had originally marked the area a couple of weeks ago and those markings were still there, however they needed to mark it even more for the beginning of the treatments. He will have a series of five treatments for five weeks, a total of 25 - 28.  They said worse case that he could have some blistering and soreness, if this occurs they have a special cream and bandage to  put on the area. They said that he may have some mild burning (like a sunburn) and to put aloe vera on the area. They don't really anticipate too much of a reaction because it is in a muscular area and not so tender. Zack didn't seem too affected by it today. 

The radiation wasn't painful at all. Zack said that since he had his IV Fluids going the technicians were supposed to call the upstairs nurse when the machine beeped (meaning it was running low). They didn't  know how to silence the machine and forgot to call Emily, his chemo nurse. Zack finally told them how to hit the silence button and advised that they call his nurse as the fluids were done. Once that radiation was complete they went back upstairs to begin chemotherapy. This will be his new routine for the next five weeks. Either in the Center or while in the Hospital. They even said that he will be able to walk over from the Hospital (in fact the radiologist encourages him to walk at least thirty minutes a day to keep the muscles in good shape in his thigh) . They said that he will be able to be unhooked from the IV fluids, walk over, have his treatment and then be back at the hospital within thirty minutes. When he went by way of the ambulance, we're not only dealing with the cost, he was traveling for an hour to go across the street. 

Though it was a long day for them, Zack was able to get about three hours of school work completed during the treatment. They left about 4:45 pm and were back home within an hour. On my way home I call Aunt Lee (second Mom) to see how she is. I found out from Mom that she had another fall and this time broke her wrist, also on the left side. No she's not klutzy  the first time was on the bleachers at a football game, this time not sure, but probably lost her balance with her left leg in a straight brace. I'm worried and hope that someone can get her home care, even if it's just a couple of times a week to cook meals and help clean. Lee sounds great having been through two breaks in as little as three weeks, her attitude is amazing. I come from a long line of tough women. She may not be my "biological" Aunt / Mom, but the women in my life have always been strong and they are my teachers. 

When I arrived at the house, Zack was outside on his ATV with Drake sitting on the ground next to it working on the lights. Frank was inside preparing the balance of dinner  (I had put on beef stew the day before so they just had to fix the sides). I wasn't hungry so I sat on the couch and relaxed with a bowl of cereal. They were sitting at the table and talking, talking and talking... It was so funny. I'm trying to watch my show and they are so loud I can't even hear a thing. I tell them to tone it down and they both say "You're the one that wants us to communicate." They both laugh, as do I. It's so good to see both of them in a good mood. The day went well and we are all relieved.  We now understand the new routine and are ready to deal with the schedule! Some days Zack will be able to drive himself, (when he only has the radiation.)

The anxiety has yet again dissipated, a common practice for us all. We all tend to become accustomed to the changes quicker. Tomorrow, Zack and I go back to the clinic for his second day of both Chemo and Radiation. This will be the first time for me to see this new addition to his cure and meet the people that are now a part of our new journey. 

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