Tuesday was all day at Albany Med, but most of it was easy. We got there super early–6:35am. Getting the frame “installed” was weird but dealable, and having it on my head all day was annoying and weird and eventually made me a bit headachy, but was not too bad.
We had brought five movies but didn’t watch a one of them, as it turned out. It was very comfortable waiting in the “living room” at Radiation Oncology and we were taken really good care of (except I didn’t need that because Eric was taking really good care of me). After the frame was put on and I had a quick CT scan, it was back to the living room to wait from about 7:30 until 2. The time went by pretty fast, actually. I had to figure out how to eat around the frame (with my fingers). We did some work and took some pictures.
Our friend Dorian came to visit and brought art supplies for a little project I got into my head to do. Also, delicious gourmet doughnuts!
The doctors and the physicist did all the mapping and planning with Monday’s MRI and the morning’s CT scan, and they were ready for the procedure at 2, as planned. The actual procedure turned out to be 90 min instead of 60 due to them having to set, check, adjust, recheck, adjust, recheck, adjust, and recheck the beam placements before being ready to zap me. Each of those cycles included physical adjustment of my head cage and/or the targeting lasers and then a couple x-rays. Meanwhile this whole time I am lying on a table with my head clamped into the frame and the frame bolted into the table. Which put my neck at a weird angle. We used folded towels to raise my shoulders so it wasn’t too uncomfortable. This time I listened to Journey’s greatest hits (that’s what was already in the CD player and really, it was kind of fun) and then an REM album.
When they finally had all the settings adjusted, the 16 zaps themselves took a long time. Ativan helped. But by the end, the novocaine had certainly ALL worn off and my head hurthurthurt from the pin/clamps. As soon as the zaps were done they came in, unbolted me from the table, got me up, and off into an exam room where they swiftly removed the pins & frame. Then they bacitracin-ed my four little wounds and put steri-strips on the forehead ones and delivered me back to Eric in the living room. Dr. Chandra came in to say hi–he looked about as tired as me–and didn’t really get the joke of my card at first. But he did eventually crack a smile.
So we talked about my next set of zaps, with the much-easier mask routine (4 or 6 weeks from now–three tiny tumors that have popped up and grown a tiny bit). Then I went home to eat a lovely dinner brought over by our neighbor and fabulous cook Marcy, watch a movie with Jesse, and fall asleep.
(My tips for picking a hospital when you have metastatic cancer or some other long-term disease: besides good doctors and caring staff, find one with a good cafeteria–ours has good fresh sushi at decent prices!–and free parking.)