Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Countdown to radiation

I saw my oncologist this afternoon. I came prepared with a list of questions...and still forgot one.
Things I know now:
I can get a tattoo if I want (sorry Mom and Dad).
I can (and should) get the flu vaccine, whopping cough, and any other vaccines I need.
Radiation will start around the beginning of November, and I should get a call from Radiation Oncology in the next few days to schedule my first appointment. I'll go for about six weeks, with weekends and holidays off. While the fatigue from it is cumulative, it's not as bad as the fatigue from chemo. It also shouldn't matter what time of day I go--it won't be that severe, though I may want to go to bed earlier than I usually do. It is completely safe to be around Finn (and others); I won't emit any radiation.
I won't have an MRI or other scan at this point unless the radiation oncologist thinks it's necessary or  there is something that seems suspicious. I can't remember exactly what he said, but I think that once treatment is complete, I'll see my oncologist every four months for about two years, and decrease in frequency after that.
The joint pain I'm experiencing is common, and it could be related to the neuropathy, which has otherwise improved. It should continue to improve over time, and moderate activity and acupuncture may help.
We talked for a good while about maintenance chemotherapy. He shared more details of the study that we had talked about in previous visits, as while we were there looked up what clinical trials may be available in the area. Johns Hopkins and Sinai are both participating in a randomization trial comparing capecitabine (Xeloda, an oral chemo) and carboplatin (given intravenously). One study found Xeloda to increase overall survival and disease-free survival; this study is looking to compare the results of the two. I'm interested, and I will put in a call to the study coordinator to learn more about it and see if I qualify. I don't love the idea of more chemo, but I do like the idea of continuing to fight and doing more to decrease the likelihood of the cancer recurring. So we'll see.

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