The scar is healing! And disappearing in my thick hair. I’m definitely ready for that.
Mom and I flew down to Houston on Sunday afternoon. I had several appointments scheduled on Monday to prep for the radiation that’s supposed to start next week. We stayed overnight at the hotel that I’ll be staying at for six weeks, and I must say… it’s much more comfortable than the one we stayed at during surgery. And it added a bit of comfort in knowing I’ll be staying there for those six weeks.
For my appointments I started off at the new M.D. Anderson Proton Therapy Center, located just a few blocks from the hotel. It’s a beautiful building completely separate from the buildings that we’ve become so familiar with… a very pleasant change. The Center is solely for treating people with the same proton radiation that I’ll be receiving, so there were a lot of people to talk to about what to expect.
I was first scheduled for an informational meeting, to receive a packet that details the team I’ll be working with, and describes any of the symptoms I should expect, as well as what to do if I have any symptoms they don’t expect.
My second appointment was the simulation of my radiation, during which I was scanned by a CT machine to perfectly position my head in the right place for the radiation. After this was done, a large plastic sheet was melted and formed to my head. The outer edges of it were locked down to the table, essentially locking my head to the table in that position. Everyday I have radiation they will lock me in the same place with this form to ensure that I’m positioned correctly. The plastic has holes – it’s more of a screen – but it’s still a bit strange being held so firmly to the table this way! Luckily (or unluckily, I suppose) I’ve had this done before when I had radiation on my jaw, so I knew what to expect.
Once this was completed I raced off to an MRI scan to map a more detailed structure of my brain. Using the MRI and the CT scan, my doctor will be able to map out exactly what will be radiated. And once that is decided, the proton center will build a 3D model of radiation zone, which the machines use to properly radiate only the areas that need it, and stopping once those areas are hit rather than continuing through the rest of my head like standard radiation would do.
This is exactly why I’m willing to live so far away from my friends and family in order to get the best treatment. It’s certainly not what I want to do, but it’s definitely something I need to do. Luckily I’ll have someone staying with me the entire time. Between Mom, Aaron, Jill, and friends that will come to visit, I’ll be in good shape. And even better, my aunt and uncle live in San Antonio… a place we’ll likely use as an escape from the long days in Houston.
Once these appointments were done, we hurried back to the airport and flew home. It was a bit of a whirlwind couple of days, and now I have about a week to be with my friends before I head back for quite a long time. It’s definitely time I need!
That’s it for now… I’ll update you once I know when I’ll actually be leaving.