Ready… Get Set… Beam On!

Beam On!

From James:

At Johns Hopkins, they give today the portentous-sounding name “Day One”: the first day (sort of) of radiation treatment. It is a day that the radiation technicians use to calibrate things and make sure everything is lined up properly so that, when radiation starts, they can zap the tumor to the greatest effect. So Young got to wear her new mask, which is made of white, meshed plastic material, fits tightly on her chin and head, and bolts to the table, so that her head stays in the same place every time they apply radiation. They also did a CT scan, and I think the doctor poked her head in for a minute. Not into the mask or the machines, you know, but metaphorically speaking.

The room is a bit cold but has a pretty nice ambiance, actually. There are these lighted tiles above the (cold, metal) table with flowery images on them, and pleasant music is playing in the background. You can bring your own CDs for your treatment, but they aren’t equipped for MP3 players. Ah, the sacrifices we must make. Here is a kind of eerie, space-age looking picture of So Young about to be placed under some sort of apparatus, with the mask on.

We also met with a “psych” nurse today to discuss the psychological effects that the tumor and medication are having on So Young. Frankly, losing your eyesight and having a potentially terminal health problem are kind of depressing, and when they give you medications known to cause depression, well…

Johns Hopkins is great, because the nurse is really advocating for So Young and consulted with us free of charge. It is truly a “team approach” at this hospital, and they make earnest attempts to address every facet of this illness and its treatment.

For the first week, all of our treatments will start at 5:30 p.m., which is not our first time choice, obviously. I will be driving her Monday and Tuesday, and Dad will be driving her Wednesday and Thursday. We are in for a lot of driving. The average trip, including driving there, the appointment, and driving home, will take about 6 hours or so — possibly more on some days, and rarely less. So let’s see, I’m an English major, but according to my calculations, that’s 5.5 weeks, 5 days per week, and 6 hours per day… We’re talking 165 hours of radiation-related activities, roughly 110 hours of which will be driving.

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4 Responses

  1. So glad that you have many people looking out for you and advocating on your behalf. All of you continue to be in my prayers and thoughts. Please if there is anything I can help with…

  2. Sure, it sounds glamorous, but what’s it really like?

    Let’s hope this shrinks that nasty tumor back into oblivion. You guys are doing the right thing. Stay strong.

  3. Once upon a time, we didn’t have any of these technologies. So we are fortunate that we live in today’s era. But what the people in the past had were miracles. We’ve always had miracles. Miracle is the same Medicine that worked back then that works today. I believe in Miracles.

  4. Sounds like you guys need to go to the library and get some good books on tape for the driving, some cross-word and sudoko puzzles for the inevitable waiting around, and what you already have, an unbelievable spirit. Good luck, this thing will shrink.

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