Thursday, May 15, 2014


Today I had my first radiation treatment! I realized that I haven't updated you guys about my radiation plans so here we are. I met with Dr. Gafney, my radiation oncologist that I LOVE, a couple weeks ago to review my PET scan results and to plan my radiation treatment process. He told me that I could not have responded better to the chemo treatments which was so awesome to hear! If my results would have been from a normal person, they wouldn't even be able to detect the amount of cancer that I still have, but since they already know of my cancer, they can see the tiniest amount that's left. So we all decided that radiation was definitely a good idea, we want this to be a one and done deal! So Dr. Gafney and his resident showed me my PET scan too so I could see exaclty where and how much cancer I had which was really cool I'm not going to lie. The red/orange spots on the scan are the cancerous cells, the left one is before chemo and the right is after chemo.

So after looking at the scans, Dr. Gafney said that he wants to do fifteen treatments of radiation. The difference between this and chemo is that radiation is everyday Monday through Friday. So they then told me they were fitting me for my mask today and giving me my tattoos. They took me back into this room, laid me on this tiny table and got to work. Keep in mind Dr. Gafney and his resident are both in the room along with one male and two female radiation tech's. So they all start poking and prodding at me, drawing all over my face and abdomen with permanent marker, making notes of where and how they're going to set me up for treatments. Once they get all of their markings in place they tell me they are going to start making the mold for my mask and to lie still. In order to make the mask they drape this large peice of soaking wet and HOT plastic that has holes in it over my face. I'm not going to lie it felt a little suffocating and probably the closest to water boarding that I'll ever experience. Luckily it cooled down and dried fairly quickly,  I just had to lay there for close to twenty minutes while the mask dried. It wasn't as fun as it sounds but I have to say every single person I have worked with in radiation has been so amazing! 
This is my mask all dry and ready to go. It's hard as a rock so I
can't really swallow or even open my eyes.

Those fish scales are from my mask,
it's that tight!
This is me on my first day of radiation, today.
I had the nurse take a picture so you could see how crazy it is.
This picture is unrelevant to this post but I just want to add
I'm so thankful for makeup! Without eyebrows and eyelashes
I really do look like a cancer patient. ;)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Drum Roll Please!!

I had a post chemo PET scan on monday to see how many lymph nodes are still hyper metabolic (cancerous) and had to wait until today to get my results. We had an appointment this morning at Huntsman to get my results and take some more tests. They had the hardest time getting blood return from my port... again, they always have a hard time but today was extra difficult. Man am I ready to get this thing taken out. Anyways, they finally got it to work after about 16 tubes of saline (they usually only need 2 or 3), and we went back to meet with my doctor.

Every time we have met with my oncologist, I have been less than impressed. He never informs his staff of his plans, let alone me! I don't mean to trash talk him either though because he saved my life, sort of, but man I just am not impressed with him. Anyways, we didn't even get to meet with Dr. Halwani today!! My nurse and my nurse practitioner gave me my results. Which I am not mad about at all, they are some of the most amazing people I've met. SO, Mary (my nurse), was pulling my results out of the printer and as she was walking back to Renee (my NP) to review my test results she says, "This is the worst printer I've ever seen!" Well all I heard was "This is the worst..", so I thought she was talking about my test results! I freaked out for a second but it was actually pretty funny. And then they gave me the results..


Of all my cancerous lymph nodes, there is one left and it has shrunk so much from that chemo that they believe it will go completely away on its own in the next few weeks!!! I can't say that I'm cancer free yet because I don't want to jinx that last little guy, but the prognosis was amazing! I still meet with my radiation oncologist on Wednesday so he can review my results and decide what we should do regarding radiation. My guess is that we will still go through with a little bit of radiation just to help that last little guy along and to be safe! I'd rather get rid of every last little bit right now and not have to worry as much later on in life. 

So that's that! The chemo worked and we are so close to being done with this mess! XOXOX!!!