I am marking off the days as they speed by on the way to completion. I am also extra vigilant, waiting to notice the difference in pain from the effects of the radiation. It does not seem to be changed yet, but it seems not to have become worse. That seems like a positive effect since for a while it seemed to worsen every couple of days or so. Now, it feels like I am on an even keel, able to plan my pain medication for effective relief. I am also able to sleep through the night without waking in the middle of the night to take more pain medication. For a while it woke me every night around three or four o’clock.
The fatigue has been tough. While I have a steady state of fatigue, it worsens after about two hours post treatment. I am completely unable to remain awake throughout an entire day. I start dozing off while sitting at the computer. Strangely, and this is the scary part, I continue to write as though I am in some kind of a trance. When I suddenly wake up, I look at what I wrote, maybe a few words or even up to two lines of text, and it is all babble. Even more strange is that I type actual words sometimes, but none of it makes sense. it is like dreaming where you know the place and the people, but all of it is unrelated and without logic or sense. Cancer can affect us in some very odd ways.
Tomorrow I will have four more days of my RapidArc treatment on the Varian Trilogy linear accelerator machine. I have been reading about it, and it sounds like for advanced cancer it is a superior technology because it can deliver potent radiation to the most precise target, and, thereby, avoid damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. It is too bad that they cannot just treat the entire body with a super accurate targeting system that could find microscopic cancer cells. Sometimes I think that with all the systemic treatments we have, maybe the answers will turn out to be some kind of advanced technology that uses technology that is yet to be discovered. While the realist in me recognizes the unlikelihood of some of my wild ideas, the idealist in me dreams a lot about cures, about miracles. When I lie down on that table, however, and that monstrous arm circles my upper body, it is easy for me to close my eyes and imagine that maybe the answers are closer than we realize.
Here are two video presentations about the linear accelerator technology employed by the Varian Trilogy.
- If you want an overview, this presentation by Jeffrey Buchsbaum, MD, radiology oncologist, currently at the Indiana University Health Proton Therapy Center, is brief and easily understandable.
- If you like very descriptive scientific explanations, you will likely enjoy this presentation by WeAreFightingCancer about linear accelerator technology. Interestingly, this video has a very high production value with excellent graphics and a speaker who delivers an impeccable presentation that is surprisingly relaxing to watch or even listen to.
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