Close Chapter – Open the Next!

Hello everyone!

As of this past Friday, I have completed my radiation regiment! Yahoo! This means that now, my cancer treatment is complete. There are still some things to go – port removal, another PET scan, follow-ups, etc etc etc. Besides recovering from surgery, the worst is behind me now. Hallelujah!

The proton center gave me this medal after my last treatment. They call it a “challenge coin”, like that which you may find among members of military units. I guess I am the 5495th patient they’ve had there. Anyway, it is a nice token to remember all I’ve been through and those who have also dealt with worse or less. I got to ring one more bell, and tear up one more time. The nurses and staff were wonderful to me every step of the way. I always felt like I was in good hands. At the first treatment I was nervous, but by the end I was sleeping through the treatments.

What they were doing

I had been hoping to have this earlier, but I finally got these images this week, and wanted to share them. The first one shows where and how much the radiation was administered. As you can see, the yellow areas were the highest concentrations of radiation, getting smaller going outward. The outline of this corresponds almost exactly to the “sunburn” and hair loss on my chest. I made the image larger than I usually do for clarity.

The second image here gives an example of how they would “line me up” at each treatment. They would take x-rays every time, and compare them to the original x-ray. From there, they would make any needed adjustments to me or the motorized table I was on. If you look closely, you can see my medi-port. eek!

So I am glad that is behind me, in a way. I will still be dealing with the side-effects for another few weeks. Mainly, fatigue, the “sunburn”, and a very sore throat. It has been quite difficult and very painful to eat/swallow over the past week. It will continue to be that way for a while. The right combination of Acetaminophen and Naproxen seem to make the pain bearable for now. My ears and head hurt too. Just overall unenjoyable. I’ve had a bit of nausea also in the past few days, and that old familiar rawness that goes deep in my throat. Soon it will all be a thing of the past.

The next chapter

Well call us crazy, but we decided to adopt another dog this week! Her name is Flurry!

She comes to us from the same shelter Bella came from. She has made herself right at home with no issues. Bella has been getting used to her, but I think she’s happy to have a playmate in the house now. Well, probably a bit annoyed, too, at this puppy who won’t stop nipping at her!

Anyway, that’s all I have to share for now. I’m not sure what’s next or when I’ll write again. Seems like I got a lot of work to catch up on, and a bit more work here at home! 😉

I can’t wait to get the port out and recover from everything else, and get back to normal activities. Physical activity will be very important for me, much more than it has been typically in my life. I’ve got to restore my heart and lungs to good condition – better than before all the treatments. I feel how much weaker I am now. It only takes a flight of stairs for me to be reminded how much work I have still ahead of me.

Thank you for reading. God Bless!

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