So, I began chemo (poisoning) yesterday, and radiation (burning) today. I have been anticipating this for a month. I am happy to finally start killing this little beast in my neck. The first day of chemo involved saline, steroids, Benadryl, zantax, an anti-nausea medicine, and the first of the two chemo meds. Today, lots of fluids, saline, more steroids, and the other chemo med. This lasts about 3 hours in a comfortable lazy boy type chair. I can work, eat, etc. Chemo is Wednesday and Thursday.

Traci and Olivia, the nurses who help with this are hilarious! Everybody at Virginia Oncology Associates are awesome.

The radiation only takes about 20 minutes. I go to Riverside for this since the Sentara radiation people don’t take my insurance. The only bad things about radiation is the mask. The mask is a plastic mesh that starts like a soft cloth that they mash down on your face. It hardens in that shape. They then clamp it down to the table. It is very tight. You can’t move. It keeps you in the same place for every treatment. They have music on during the procedure, nice touch! Although it was kind of ironic this morning that David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” came on the radio right after they clamped me to the table.

They make marks on the mask to aim the radiation. The treatment comes from a machine that can rotate around the table. You don’t feel anything. It’s like getting an x-ray. It will be a daily routine Monday thru Friday. Fortunately, I go in at 8 AM, so on the days I don’t have chemo, I’ve got the rest of the day free. As they shot the rays into my neck I kept saying to myself “Die beast die!” (“The beast” is my pet name for the tumor in my neck. This week it starts to die a slow death.)

This will be my routine for the next 7 weeks. I feel great now. Did I mention the steroids! Unfortunately, they only give them on the first couple of days. I know I will begin feeling progressively worse as the effects of both treatments begin to take effect. But, so good so far.


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