Returning to earth

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I need to develop a new napping strategy.  My inability to be out of bed for any length of time is starting to interfere with my very limited engagement schedule.  I’m in bed at 4 o’clock on Saturday afternoon, having spent the entire day here and I could stay in bed for the night, but I need to get up as I’m meeting my parents for dinner in an hour. Continue reading

Waiting for Starbucks

I’m on the home stretch!  Only 17 treatments left to go.  Olivia arrived on Thursday night and came with me to UWMC for radiation session #24.  Four more weeks and I get to home with these two:

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This phase is going well now.  The treatments are easy and efficient, and I think I know what to expect in terms of side effects.  Other than fatigue, my health has not interfered with our weekend plans.   Continue reading

So fortunate

Seattle Children's Research Center window sign

Seattle Children’s Research Center window sign

My woes at UWMC continued this afternoon.  I sat, tired and cold, wearing only a hospital gown for more than an hour, waiting for my treatment.  I had stripped down early as I needed to be fitted for a bolus (more on that later).  A nurse noticed my shivering and brought me a blanket, just as my pity party was starting in full force and as a staff member rolled a stretcher down the hall to the doors of the treatment room.  I must have looked puzzled and she said: “Oh, the patient in front of you is a child; he needs to be anesthetized for each treatment so we need a stretcher to take him back to his room.” Continue reading

Get it together…

"Get it together Paul - we can do this!"

“Get it together Paul – we can do this!”

This has been a rough week, a really rough few days.  I am still working on a positive post, and will finish it as there is so much good for me to write about.  I have so much support, love, help, and care and I have an excellent team of health care professionals working on my cancer.  I know and feel the love and all of the good, but it is hard today.  The last few days have been terrible.  Continue reading

Fear and Longing

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Two emotions are interrupting my relaxed, treatment-less Saturday morning.  It is brilliant here; the sunlight reflecting off the Seattle Times Building’s windows is lighting my room.  I am going to head out for a brisk walk to try to calm my mind.

I am scared of what is to come.  It is a new emotion.  I wasn’t overly fearful or anxious before my surgery (thankfully I was pretty unaware of what they were going to do or I would have been too frightened to show up at VGH), and I wasn’t worried starting treatment at ProCure, but I am scared thinking about my radiation at UWMC.  Why?  Continue reading

UWMC, ProCure and a VW Van

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Twenty-five thousand people work at UW Medicine.  Twenty-five THOUSAND people and I feel like I need them all. “The Radiation Oncology Services at the University of Washington Medical Center provide comprehensive and personalized evaluation, consultation, planning, radiotherapy and follow-up for patients with a wide range of cancers.”  Yup, right off their website.  Who doesn’t want comprehensive and personalized evaluation, consultation and planning?  Of course I do.  But right now I just want the PLAN.  I was really hoping that today, after treatment number nine, Dr. Tseng was going to give me ‘the plan”;  the number of proton boost treatments at ProCure, how many photon treatments at UWMC, and the date I would be going home.  Continue reading

Rain in Movember

Four treatments down, almost ten per cent of the way.  When I put it that way it doesn’t seem like very much, it sounds like I have just started, which is odd because after my treatment yesterday it felt like this is part of my routine; like I have been doing this for a long time.  Perhaps all of the planning, the preparation, the diagnostics and the anticipation have made it seem like I have been at this for a while.  I have thirty seven more to go; another in a few hours.  I think it is 37.  I have an appointment with Dr. Tseng today to sort out the photon plan and to review the proton regime to date.  I hope the photon portion completely replaces proton treatments and does not add any.  It will be good to get the overall plan, find out when we add photon, how that integrates with proton therapy, and determine dosage. Continue reading

Welcome to Seattle

Welcome to the next phase of my journey.  I’m in Seattle and undergoing radiation.  This week has been busy, emotional and exhausting, and I’ve been carried through it by the support I have received from family, friends, health care professionals and strangers.  I am two treatments in now and counting down the days until I am finished.  It looks like December 30th will be my end date, and now that we have turned over into November it doesn’t seem that far away.  I have added a countdown calendar to this site so that I can watch the days tick off until I go home. Continue reading

Calling a proton

It’s happening. I head to Seattle in a few hours. I have a consultation on Monday morning with Dr. Yolanda Tseng, a Radiation Oncologist at the ProCure Proton Therapy Center. The center is part of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the largest cancer treatment center in the Pacific Northwest, and has opened recently, making it one of about 15 in the US. There are none in Canada, which is unfortunate, but Seattle is a heck of a lot closer (about a six hour drive) than either Loma Linda (San Francisco) or Boston, which were the two options we had at the start of this. Continue reading