More Radiation Today

This afternoon we head down to the hospital for more radiation on my husband’s spine.  The radiologist identified three spots that she feels will give my husband some relief from his pain, C6, C7 and T4.  There are the spots that will be radiated today.  As always there is risk especially when dealing with the cervical spine.  He will need to be medicated to ensure that he remains completely still on the radiation table.  The potential side effects include some inflammation to the voice box which will pass but may make his voice raspy for a bit, some swelling and tenderness in the areas radiated (this is an understatement, but we know that) and some nausea since T4 is near the stomach.  There are always the other possible side effects of paralysis or death.  Last night was not a restful one for either of us, but balancing the potential pain relief this seems the route to go.

There’s also a bit of a fear about the timing.  There will be disbelievers out there but anecdotally we’ve been told to try and avoid any sort of a procedure on a Monday or a Friday.  The focus of the technicians could be somewhat diminished.  And here we are going in as almost the last appointment on a Friday.  Somehow we will communicate this concern to the technicians carrying out the treatment.  To them it is a job, an important one, but still their work – to him it could be the difference between mobility or death.  Let’s hope we have the ‘A’ Team on this afternoon!

We continue to wait for the birth of our daughter’s first child.  She is due now.  She’s had a very good pregnancy and I certainly anticipate that her delivery will be just as good.  With the actual due date being Saturday, and the fact that she has started to have fairly persistent cramping, I suspect that we will see the wee bairn in the next couple of days.  This was and is one of the most important milestones in my husband’s cancer journey – to meet this grandson.  Barring no absolute disasters on the radiation table he will be doing just that.

The MRI Results

The MRI was last week.  One of the first questions they ask the patient is if he/she is claustrophobic.  Then they ask if you have ever had a reaction to the contrast that they will be injecting.  Do you have a pacemaker, or any metal implants, has a piece of metal ever flown into your eye? They ask what kind of music you would like to hear while the test is conducted – but really, you can’t hear the music for the clicking of the machine.  You lie on a narrow motorized gurney that moves slowly through a short cylinder (open at both ends) while computer generated imagery is gathered as your body passes through the tube.  In my husband’s case the MRI took about an hour to complete and the results are in; we meet with the Radiologist on Tuesday, tomorrow.  Our family GP has already called us about the scan – just to give us a heads up and so we can ask some knowledgeable questions of the Radiologist.

So we already know that the bone cancer has spread, that he has two new compression fractures in his spine at T4 and T9.  Our GP also stated that there was some activity in the Cervical Spine and that the Radiologist would be better positioned to discuss options with us on this issue.  The reality of our meeting on Tuesday is that likely by Thursday my husband will be having more radiation to his spine.  The radiation, although it does alleviate the pain after the swelling goes down, can be quite a process.  It can and did cause nausea and vomiting for my husband the last time and the pain associated with it was overwhelming.  It was during the radiation in July/August that my husband could not even lift his legs to get into bed.  At least this time we are more prepared and will try to stay ahead of the pain.