Yesterday, my dear friend, L., accompanied me to the Cancer Centre so I could contribute more parking fees toward the new Cancer Centre fund. While I was making my financial contribution, I underwent my third and final zapping.
I’m pretty darned lucky in the scheme of things. I know people who have undergone day after day of radiation for one, two, or more months in order to shrink tumours. I have had only three little zaps to my abdomen, and I’m done, for now at least.
Somehow, over the course of this appointment, an impromptu visit with Dr. Radi-O’s resident materialized. I was as surprised as you are–tick, tock on the parking clock–and, because doctors need to review files and consult with one another before they meet with patients, my dear friend and I were moved to a very cramped day-treatment room to wait. Thankfully, L. is an excellent conversationalist in any situation; I, on the other hand, was quite distracted by the sounds of a poor patient vomiting behind me. I was even more dismayed by the fact that my beloved friend was facing this patient and I wasn’t. Another day in an overcrowded room at the Cancer Centre.
Then Dr. Radi-O’s nurse arrived to chat with me, followed by Dr. Resident Radi-O. Dr. R.R. and I chatted a bit before he asked me if he might examine my rotund belly. Because I am a woman of the utmost discretion, I asked him if we might perhaps find another location for his examination since there were a large number of patients, their family and friends, and nurses crammed into this very small area, and privacy curtains were nowhere to be found. Thankfully, my request was not considered unreasonable, and so we (L., the nurse, Dr. R.R. and I) scooted off to a nearby examining room, where Dr. R.R. promptly copped a feel of my ginormous spleen.
The discussion that ensued was highly edifying, to say the least. I ignorantly had not realized that the radiation would have to build up in my system over my treatments and in the weeks following in order to take full effect. My concern that my belly does not seem to have shrunk at all over the past two weeks was allayed by both the nurse and Dr. R.R., who reassured me that the treatment would indeed be effective. And that my radiation side effects would probably get worse as it did. I have anti-nausea pills at the ready, but you know already that I am not a puker.
What I also had not realized was that the intent of this intervention is to kill my whole spleen, not just a part of it. Dr. R.R. explained that a spleen as large as mine is not functioning like a healthy organ would anyhow, so killing off the whole thing shouldn’t have much effect on my functioning.
This new information does raise several new questions for me, though. If I’ve been told for years I need my spleen, but my spleen will be dead soon, what will happen to my poor overtaxed liver? Will it protest? Will it miss the company? Will it get depressed? I could search the internet for answers to these questions, but I think I’ll wait until I see my trusty medical team next week. You know how strongly I feel about the dangers of internet health research, especially for anxious people like me.