Saturday, December 13, 2008

TDP - Charging Forward - and We're Flexible!

We were in Ann Arbor last Thursday for Tom's next step - getting tattooed for his radiation. They actually do tattoo you - he now has three brand new dots on his chest and sides where they permanently mark you so they can line up the radiation properly.

The plan was to come back this Monday for radiation - daily treatments for one week, then two weeks off, then back for a final week. But Dr Pan mentioned that he felt that Tom could handle a shorter program, a bit more intensified, and surprised us by saying that he could start his first treatment in an hour!

We jumped at the opportunity to get started, and made arrangements to stay an extra day in Ann Arbor so Tom could have his second treatment on Friday. It's quite fast - total time from when he walked into the hospital to the moment he scooped me up from the waiting room was only 20 minutes.

The new treatment plan is for Tom to get ten days of radiation, beginning this past Thursday. They don't do treatments on weekends, so at the moment we're home but getting ready to return to Ann Arbor on Sunday for his next radiation on Monday. He'll continue through the week, treatments every day, and then back again the following week. His last radiation treatment will be on Christmas Eve.

As Tom puts it - "This is my own personal Christmas present - I'm all done with radiation just in time for Christmas! Two down, eight to go." And he said it with a smile.

After only two treatments, he feels he's swallowing easier, and he's hardly thrown up at all today. (Well, maybe a few times, but that's a major improvement so he's pleased.) It's possible that the continued radiation may cause severe irritation when he swallows, but it may also make it easier for him to swallow. They don't have any way of knowing which way it will go for Tom, as each person reacts differently to radiation. But so far, it's been an improvement - hurray!!!

He was feeling pretty good this morning, so we buzzed out for a quick shopping trip. On our return, he installed a new tv antenna - in 25 degree temps and a strong blowing wind. On a ladder. He's not good with ladders, so our neighbor Randey helped out with the installation. But Tom is a determined guy when it comes to doing things, and by the end of today he was planning on seeing some decent tv with a decent antenna - no more of those darned rabbit ears!

So he got the antenna up, wired it to the tv at the opposite end of the house, and - after a short nap - was able to watch good digital 15 channels instead of the one lousy analog channel we'd been receiving previously. He's happy because he found a station that shows old MASH reruns, and I'm tickled that I can actually get in some good PBS and some foodie and travel shows.

So it's back to Ann Arbor for us tomorrow, and we're keeping our fingers crossed that the radiation will make Tom able to eat easier. So far so good - okay, everyone cross your fingers for us!

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