Saturday, June 19, 2010

06/18/10 - Radiation 5.14

Radiation treatment 14 of 17 was again uneventful, as expected. The radiation treatments have had their desired effect of gradually reducing my lower back pain, due to my cancer. The pain is still there, but it has decreased each week.

Of course, the main reason for the radiation treatments was to eliminate cancer in my L4 vertebra of my spinal column (bone). The reduction in my lower back pain indicates that it has been successful. I won't know the full extent until MRI images are taken and evaluated at Moffitt on July 23rd.

At this point, only 3 radiation treatments in this series remain!

Friday, June 18, 2010

06/11/10 - Roofing, Riding, Radiation 5.9

Posted 6/19. I'll start earlier in the day on this post. Recently (6/7,6/8), we had our roof replaced by Arry's Roofing, who did a very nice, quality job. On Friday, 6/11, they called around 11:15AM to say what our remaining balance was. We could pay it by check (U.S. mail), or by credit card (a visit to their office). I wanted to pay by credit card, as I get points, which add-up to cash-back. :)

Since Laura had to work until 4:15, their was no other way for me to get there besides my hog (recumbent tricycle). Even though I had significant lower back pain at the time, I was actually looking forward to getting out on my hog.

Luckily, the Pinellas trail is just blocks from our house. It is a paved, former railroad track, part of this country's Rails-to-Trails initiative. Nice, and convenient for us. Long story short, after lunch and other preparations and delays, I did not leave until around 1:00PM. Knowing that it usually takes me at least 45 minutes to get ready for radiation, and we typically leave at 4:55PM to make it to my radiation on time. I knew I was pressed for time...

Fortunately, Arry's is also VERY close to the "trail" as well, but I had never been there, and was relying on directions from an Arry's employee. Big mistake, I should have at least looked at a map or Google Earth before I left. The below GPS track (green) shows my full "journey" on Google Earth. Notice the loop at the top of the path...

My full journey, click to enlarge

Yes, the loop at the top of the path is me searching for Arry's. When I was close I called them multiple times for directions, which I, admittedly, misunderstood multiple times. I'm ashamed to say that I had a GPS clipped to one of my belt loops. I didn't think to use it, because on my trike, I use it mainly to track where I have been, not to navigate. My cellphone also has a GPS, but they charge for navigation. "Lost" with TWO GPSs - ironic and my own stupidity at the time...

My full journey

Since I was in a rush, I didn't stop to take many photos, the following shows the Pinellas Trail as it goes through the town of Tarpon Springs. As you can see, Tarpon Springs has done a nice job of landscaping it.

The trail through Tarpon Springs

Prior to that photo, I stopped at the "Chimp Farm." It's now called "The Suncoast Primate Sanctuary," but I still prefer its old name of the "Chimp Farm." The chimps were making noise, so I had to take a couple of videos. The video below is edited down to 12 seconds from 1+ minutes, mainly to use less memory. Sorry for the shaking, but I had the camera zoomed-in, which only increases the effect. I took this video on the way TO the roofers, and you can here me saying, "I must be moving on," since I was in a rush... Yes, I had to listen to it a few times before I figured out what I was saying! I sub-scripted it in the video.
Chimp Farm Video

I left Arry's around 3:43PM. I knew that I had to scramble, so I pedaled as fast as I could. About 3 miles from home, I was exhausted. It was hard to muster the strength just to put my left foot on its pedal - approximately 6 inches from the ground - pitiful... Why the exhaustion? Many factors, the biggest being over exertion. I continued, nonetheless.

So, when did I get home? I was about 4:44PM. Although Laura was supposed to work until 4:15, she got stuck on the job and got home around 4:45PM. Lucky for me, I had a chance to slip into the house before she got home. Unfortunately, Laura "busted" me as I was nearing the top of the stairs to our house as she pulled her car in. I went in the house and jumped into the shower (OK, I got into the shower as quickly as I could, if I were to jump, I would very likely fall down). I took a very quick and cold shower, it felt good since I was just riding my hog in 90+ degree weather!

I was ready by about 5:05PM (again Laura insists I be ready by 4:55PM). We actually made it to my radiation appointment on time! Radiation treatment 5.9 went well. So, it all worked out in the end. In the days to come my leg muscles were sore, and my back was likely stiffer than usual, but nothing I couldn't handle.

The ride on my hog - it was just over 10.6 miles according to my GPS. Can't wait to do it again when I don't have to "rush!" :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

06/03/10 - Radiation 5.3

Posted 6/13 - I'll rate myself "poor" on this post for being slow... Radiation 5.3 was typical, but two of the Radiation Therapists(RTs) did take a little extra time to take a few photos of the process. Anyone hat knows me knows that I love photos, I especially like to post them on my blog to help break up seemingly monotonous text and help to better explain things. The following photos were all taken by RT Lynn, with impromptu "model" Chief RT Andrea.

Me on radiation treatment table

(Above) Me positioned physically on the treatment table by lining up lasers with my tattoos by the RTs. Note that this is actually one step beyond alignment as the table is raised to align with the radiation machine.

Me on treatment table, Andrea in background

Once raised to treatment height, the table is pretty high, as it becomes apparent with this view of Andrea in the background. Of course it does lower to load/unload me.

Andrea controlling the radiation machine

Andrea controlling the radiation machine, just outside of the treatment room. There is a heavy, foot-thick door that closes when the therapists leave the room to protect them from any stray radiation. I'm still in the room. Maybe that's why I glow at night... :) Actually, I don't glow, but I wonder if a sensitive Geiger counter would detect any radiation when held to my spine? Laura has probably asked in the past if it has a "Tazer" setting...

Video of me in radiation room

This video is used to track if anything goes wrong during treatment - if I start moving around or dancing, whatever. Apparently, it is closed circuit TV. Unfortunately, it is not piped to the local TV station.

Thanks again to Lynn and Andrea, for creating these photos!