So I was putzing around this morning at about quarter to ten, tallying results of my informal survey of locals' cell phone service providers, and the phone rang. It was the radiologist's office, saying I had an appointment for 9:30 this morning.
Um... as far as I knew, it was tomorrow morning, but when the scheduler gave it to me, she said Friday the 16th. When I mentioned that Friday was the 17th (as I was writing on my calendar as we were talking), she said it was for Friday. Oops. So the person on the phone and I eventually agreed that I'd just come in *right now*
Dr. Radiologist was quite a jovial man. We talked for a looooooong time (close to an hour!), and he explained many many things to me. He showed me the pictures from my first CT scan, done back in May, which was neat to look at. It revealed, however, what I've been hearing the last few weeks: there was a lot of cancer in there.
Basically, the radiation will be done anywhere that there had been cancer, so it will cover a pretty large area, and it will include radiation on the heart. It will be as little as possible, but since there was tumor around the heart, it's important to get that area, too.
Way back when they took lots of fluid out from around my lungs, they had mentioned that there were no malignant cells in the fluid. This is a good thing.
He explained that the lymph system basically just sucks up fluid that gets out of its container and puts it back where it should be. When something blocks the transport of said fluids (like a tumor, for example), the fluid builds up. That's what was around my lungs. Interesting.
I won't have any radiation until after we get back from NJ in October!!! He said that radiation doesn't start for a month after chemo ends, which would have put us at the week before the wedding. Instead, so we can go and spend the week, we'll just start a week later. Then I'll have probably four weeks of radiation.
He said I can work while it's all going on. He also explained the potential short-term and long-term side effects, which ones were more likely, etc.
I e-mailed the HR person in my district and asked if I could set up a time to speak with her about what I've learned and what my options are. I'm happy to go back to work, but if I get sick from the radiation, I don't want to need to work. Am I able to go back to work then change my mind? I don't know yet. Hopefully, she'll get back to me and I'll know more soon.
So my next appointment with Dr. Radiation is on September 11. If Dr. Oncology hasn't ordered a PET scan by that time, then he will. Notes and test results will be compared all around, and they'll determine what the best dosages are and how many I'll need. Treatments will begin October 15 or 16. Happy birthday to me.
That's the story for the moment.