Monday, June 27, 2011

My Brain Got Zapped Today

I just got my brain zapped. Yep, whole brain radiation started today.

I was apprehensive beforehand. But talking to people when I got there - asking about side effects - calmed me down. They had to do a "set-up" first to be sure I was positioned correctly and that took a little bit of time. At first, the tech didn't say what she was doing when, but when I asked her to tell me what she was doing and why, I was able to calm down. I thanked her for telling me.

Then, once the doc okayed the set-up, I got zapped. About 20-30 seconds on each side. Fairly quick. I don't even need to take off my contacts. Most people only get scalp redness (alleviated by aloe vera gel) and some fatigue.

Already got the fatigue but that seems better the more days I have since surgery. The social worker said, "gosh are you ready to start this today?". When I said that because my family had already scheduled time at a house at the beach - July 16 - and that this was the first day the neurosurgeon released me to start radiation - the 14 scheduled sessions have to begin today, she understood. She then said, "boy you're strong!"

Yeah, I guess I am. I get a lot of support at home and that really really helps.

I am more tired today than yesterday, though, as I couldn't relax my right arm and shoulder. I think it was because I spent a few hours gluing tiles to my most recent mosaic. It's better now, though. I do have some increased swelling in the front of the right shoulder due to the surgery and the nurse said that I could probably start taking Ibuprofen if I wanted. I guess I should check with my docs first, to make sure it isn't contraindicated with the anti-seizure medication. On second thought, I think it is. I do think I got some sleep, finally, and my arm relaxed partway through the night. I'm not going to use that arm much today so that I can get a better night's sleep. I will, however, try to stretch it more.

Tomorrow, I have four appointments - wound care, physical therapy, acupuncture and then radiation.

That's pretty much my life with wound care twice a week, physical therapy twice a week, acupuncture once a week, and regular therapy.

I feel so much better now that WBR (whole brain radiation - for ease of typing, that is the abbreviation I will use henceforth) has started and I know what to expect.

Had some diarrhea, too, today, but as that is a side effect of three of the prescription meds I am on (anti-seizure Keppra, anti-cancer Tykerb, and an antiobiotic Keflex), it is to be expected. I took an Imodium after breakfast and I feel better now. It seems that one 2mg Imodium tablet lasts me two days. So, tomorrow should be better.

Yes, I have a lot of things going on - treatment, side effects from treatment, treatments for the side effects, wounds, etc. - but it could be so much worse. I watched Extreme Makeover Home Edition last night - I don't have it nearly as bad.

And, yeah, I finally got hold of a real person at the Standard about my short-term disability claim this morning. While in radiation, they called and said that they are processing my claim and should have a determination this afternoon or tomorrow. Turns out  my old analyst was on vacation so I politely but  firmly requested another one as I have had much difficulty getting hold of her. It pays to call and follow up on things like this. Nice to know that I should know something by tomorrow morning.

I am on a different computer than my iPad - so I will post some pics that I've been promising for awhile! Definitely feeling better this afternoon than this morning. I promise I won't overdo it, though!


j said...

Dee. Dee, Dee, Dee, Dee, Dee. I am grateful for every word, every detail you share, I really am. Beaming you healing thoughts across the miles.

j said...

The word verification "word" is "gyrag." I thought that Gyrag might make a good name for a tumor. Maybe we could gently suggest to Gyrag that perhaps he might be happier taking up residence somewhere else, perhaps on a rock near pond. Just a thought. Kind of a bizarre one, admittedly, but I thought "gyrag" was so strange, it deserved a mention! (Not to mention his sister Deoidia!)

Dee said...

Jeanne, thank you for the healing thoughts. Also, really enjoyed - and needed then chuckle about that damn guy (of course it is a guy) Gyrag. Seems like an Orc name, right? He needs to go take up residence in the fires of Mount Doom! And Deoidia is strange, but it seems kinda elven to me. The chuckle was exactly what I needed!