Friday, July 10, 2015

Necessities I never expected to need, now I'm thankful for having them in my future

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The call for this appointment came in this afternoon, two days after getting the pathology report and recommendation to treat my cancer aggressively. Now I have a goal to work toward, finding out what's next for me.

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The phone call for this appointment came in not too long after I got home from my doctor appointment on Wednesday. Lamont and I had put away the groceries and he'd gone back to work. I sat down to eat lunch. The phone rang not to many minutes into lunch. Like I said, now I have a goal to work toward.

In order to reach these goals, I feel that I should look online at information that Kaiser provides for cancer patients, to make myself aware of the generalities so that I will be able to ask intelligent questions when I have these two consultations. 

About Radiation therapy, found at kp.org:

Radiation therapy treats cancer by damaging cancer cells' DNA, or genetic code, which causes the cells to die and tumors to shrink. About half of all people with cancer receive radiation therapy, sometimes in combination with other cancer treatments.

Something that's radioactive may be placed in your body near a tumor (brachytherapy), injected into your blood (systemic radiation therapy), or sent into your body by a machine (external beam radiation therapy). The area chosen for treatment usually includes the whole tumor plus a small amount of normal tissue.

The type of radiation therapy you receive depends on the cancer you have, so the side effects vary. For example, radiation to your abdomen can cause skin irritation, swelling, fatigue, as well as a loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, which may make it hard to eat well during treatment. Radiation therapy can also cause side effects months or even years after treatment ends, such as:
  • memory loss 
  • infertility 
  • damage to your bowels that causes diarrhea and bleeding 
  • fibrosis, or the replacement of normal tissue with scar tissue 
  • a second cancer caused by radiation exposure 
Some people find using guided imagery helps them cope with radiation's side effects.

About Chemotherapy, found at kp.org.

Chemotherapy uses drugs that attack fast-growing cells to destroy cancer, stop cancer cells from spreading, or slow the growth of cancer cells.

There are lots of kinds of chemotherapy, and it can be combined with other treatments. It can be given intravenously (through an IV) or as a shot, pill, liquid, or cream you rub on your skin.

Because chemotherapy also kills fast-growing healthy cells, like those in your mouth, digestive tract, and hair follicles, it can cause side effects throughout your body:
  • nausea and vomiting
  • appetite changes
  • bleeding problems
  • constipation or diarrhea
  • fatigue and memory changes
  • fluid retention
  • hair loss
  • infections
  • mouth sores and inflammation
  • pain
  • sexual side effects
Everyone is different. Some people feel tired, while others feel well enough to keep a normal schedule.

If you're receiving more than one anticancer medication, you may have more side effects, or more intense ones.

Your doctor will talk to you about what kind of medications you'll receive, how often, and things you can do at home if you're having trouble eating.

The rest period in between treatments gives your body time to build healthy new cells.

When I found out the details, I'll let you know so that you can pinpoint your prayers as you've done for me as we've been going through this together. 

Thank you so much for your prayers, love, and concern.

5 comments:

Susan Bauer said...

Knowledge is power. Good for you for having the courage to confront your cancer up front. My positive thoughts are with you.

Randy said...

Keep up the fight.

Linda said...

Best of luck to you! Sounds like you have a high-tech system working for you.

Anonymous said...

Always on my mind.

William Kendall said...

Quite a path for you to follow- I hope all turns out well as things go along.