We went to see the radiation oncologist (Dr. Higgins) today for a consult just in case (or so we thought) I would need it somewhere down the road. We really didn’t know much about the radiation part of treatment mostly because it hadn’t been talked about. Whenever we asked about it in past appointments it has seemed like a “maybe later” thing, or even a “might not need it at all” thing.
When we went today we found out that it is indeed part of the treatment. First chemo, then surgery, then radiation. Apparently radiation is like the clean up, like the extra wash. There are certain areas that are known to have a high likelihood of recurrence after the chemo and surgery, so those areas will be targeted with radiation to ensure that nothing returns. After hearing about how it plays into the grand treatment plan and some of the specifics around it, I’m actually feeling pretty comfortable with the idea. I like the thought that the third stage of treatment is really the second coat that takes care of anything left behind.
It will probably be a while before I have radiation so I’ll spend more time on the specifics then (maybe April). For now, the major discovery is that radiation treatment involves going in and getting doses every week day for 5 to 6 weeks. Every week day. That was a lot more than I expected and doesn’t sound like fun. Thankfully the side-effects seem a bit milder than chemo, the major issue being fatigue. It builds over the coarse of treatment, just like chemo, so I’ll be the most tired going into weeks 5 - 6.
After going through all the side-effects with the doctor I finally asked the question I had been waiting to ask the whole time…
“One more question… um… are there any positive side-effects? You know, like super-strength or whatever?”
The doctor started laughing just after I got past the word “positive”. Like really laughing because I caught her off guard (It was pretty awesome). She said “no” but that it was good to keep positive. What I heard was “if there is, you’d be the first.”
I’ll take that.