Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Radiation Placebo May Be Effective

I guess I commented earlier that I cannot tell whether or not I am actually getting radiation. And I am pretty sure that I am getting real radiation treatments. Actually, I think I felt something touching inside my bones when I was inside the machine last week!

But if they told me it was all in my head, I couldn't prove otherwise. I just lay down on this stainless steel table. The Operator uncovers my tattoos and lines me up with the red laser lights so I will be in the place the machine expects me to be. They leave the room and let this huge 12 inch thick door slide shut. They say they are going to create a CT Scan that will show them how close I am to being in absolutely in the right spot. Then they come back and make sub-millimeter adjustments using hand adjustments on the table. The instant they let go of the table they usually run out of the room and stay gone for about 7 minutes. I have to lay totally still from the very first moment I am in there so I can't really see whether they leave the room or not. If they stay, they are pretty good at keeping quite, because I never hear them.

Anyway; during that 7 minutes or so, the machine makes all kinds silly sounding slapping and clapping and buzzing and humming sounds that change location -- but always coming out from somewhere around the edge of the big donut that surrounds me.

If it's a placebo, then fine. Whatever. Because I am feeling better.

Yeah! I haven't felt pain higher than a 6 on my 10 point scale since the very first night of radiation. And that, my friends, is Cool. Way Cool!

So I still take an enormous amount of pain medication. But it is a smaller enormous than last week -- down from three times a day to two times a day. {Mike told me that the pill I take is the biggest one that you can get. And he should know!} All I need is a few more days at this level and I will ask to go another step forward. I mean; I want to stop taking pain medication ASAP -- but it has had a month to get friendly with my brain and body. So we'll taper it off to avoid creating some kind of withdrawal reaction, I'm pretty sure.

So; I guess it's not a trick. They are using real radiation, right?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Have you seen the yellow armbands? They are from LIVESTRONG -- Lance Armstrong's foundation for folks "experiencing cancer."
The organization he put together came up with a program in cooperation with some of the YMCA around the United States.
They studied what happens to people while they are getting diagnosed and treated for cancer. They recognized that we slow down and move less. And dealing with treatments and our bodies reactions to those treatments is a serious challenge.
So they took a general approach and suggest a basic approach:
Move a bit - Do something to raise your heart rate - Pick some cardio stimulating activity.
Exert yourself - Do something that makes your muscles work a bit - Lift or Pull or Push something
Stretch Out - Just reach out and see what it feels like to let your body explore its complete range of movement - Just try to touch the sky and just try to touch your toes!
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They did it in a good way -- and they do not charge us for participating. We can join a 12 week course - meeting twice a week - with a written record of our starting levels to compare to what we reach in three months.

And the people are really upbeat, so it makes it almost fun to be there. {maybe if I was already fit it would be fun, but I am not so it was actually kind of like hard work}

I'll be going to the twice weekly meetings. Since I still do not drive everywhere, I will have work that out with someone. But it will certainly help me get back to my regular life -- of that I am sure.