Tomorrow morning at 8:40 am, I report in for my next-to-last radiation treatment. After that, I have a two hour hydration. Tuesday, I have my very last radiation treatment… and that’s it.
I have more hydration for a week afterward to help my body recover, but the initial treatments are done. We’ll wait around a month and then do two consolidation chemo treatments–Carboplatin and Taxol delivered at three times the dosage I had them every week during radiation.
While I’m not looking forward to the consolidation chemo (understatement, and perhaps a worthy usage of the word “dread”), completing the chemoradiation is the big hurdle. Together they’re brutally exhausting and the side effects are multiplied. Having to deal with just one at a time–even at a higher dose–sounds more do-able.
Then comes the big wait. Inflammation and burns from radiation can light up a PET scan just like cancer, so they wait to do the initial PET scan until some time after treatments end–usually three months, if I’m remembering correctly. Until then, all I have to go on are a few tidbits from doctors here and there about “good progress” or “mass is shrinking.” At my final clinic (weekly check-in) with Dr. Lee, I’ll ask him how it looked on the scans. Radiation keeps working for a week after the last treatment and I still have the consolidation chemo so I don’t expect to hear the mass is gone… but it would be nice to have some sense of progress or success.
I’m feeling OK–not terrible, not awesome. The main thing I feel is tired. I can’t sleep more than a few hours without waking up, even at night, so my days have become a series of naps. I’d read the fatigue would feel like getting hit by a truck and yep, it does. It’s that “I need to be in bed in 5 minutes or I’ll pass out right here” Nyquil feeling, every 2-3 hours.
These are small complaints though. I went into this knowing it would be easier than last time, and it certainly was. If my worst complaints are that I throw up a couple times a week, I have trouble swallowing, and I’m absurdly tired, then I’m ahead of the game. I am, as always, grateful for these kinds of small gifts that come my way.