Monday, January 24, 2011

Hey, lesion: I'll see you on the dark side of the moon

Oh MAN did I like that CyberKnife facility.

(Now there's a sentence I'm fairly sure I've never written before).

(P.S.- Sometimes I play this game with myself where I strive to create sentences that no one in the history of man has ever strung together before. Think about it. Half the things you say during the day have surely already been said by SOMEone at SOME point in the many days post-Rosetta Stone. "Turn left at the light." "I've GOT to get some lunch!" "I'm probably the most successful person in this entire food court." Etc.)

Getting back to it-- Today was my first consultation. The CK waiting room was very zen-like. Bamboo shoots, low flat upholstered chairs in an earthy palette, indirect lighting, premium coffees and teas. These days, I'm a connoisseur of such things so I appreciate the added touches. And if you gotta get tumors blasted, you may as well feel peaceful waiting for it to happen.

I LOVED MY DOCTOR FROM THE MOMENT I LAID EYES ON HER. She quickly whisked me out of the little examination room, and into an even smaller room where the special computer would give us access to my scans. We combed through them together, and she explained everything to me. She showed me just how tiny this "liver lesion" is (17mm). She then spent at least 30 minutes going over every conceivable question I might have about my cancer, the procedure, the technology, you name it. She even shared with me that she would be undergoing CK treatment soon herself. She recently learned she has breast cancer. She helped work on the plans for her own 'Knifing.

So now:

Step #1: Get insurance to cover this procedure, which is enormously expensive. Hello, red tape! May take up to one week.

Step #2: Get an MRI and CT scan to show the precise current dimensions of the "lesion". Then, they implant 3 small gold-seed markers in my liver to give the 'Knife some coordinates from which to work. (This is probably as good a time as any to let you all know that if for some reason I should ever die, harvest my liver STAT, 'cause we all know the price of gold is only going up.)

Step #3: Develop my personal treatment plan, which will be created by a PHYSICIST. Takes 2-5 days.

Step #4: Let the 'Knifing begin. Should probably take three consecutive days. One hour a session. Should have no side effects. Will blast the spot to kingdom come, leaving only a "cold spot" in my liver which I envision to be like the dark side of the moon. (If this blog featured artwork, I'd attach Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" album cover here. That prism effect even reminds me of CyberKnife beams! Those guys really WERE ahead of their time, weren't they.)

My doctor also suggested I might go see one of their partner naturopaths, who work in concert with the oncologists/radiologists, so all my treatments synch up and work complementarily. I plan to do this right away. Love me some herbs.

The ONLY off-putting moment of the entire morning was when the admitting nurse said, after removing my blood pressure cuff, "Now I have to ask you a question. I ask this of everyone. Do you have a living will?" I snorted and replied, "JEE-ZUS, do I look THAT BAD?" She then provided me with a thick stack of white papers titled, "Your Life, Your Decisions". There's even a comforting black and white photograph of an elm tree on the front.

Bottom line: I expect to be done with all this by the end of Feb, and it should really be no sweat. Placing the gold seeds in my liver might smart a bit, but I bet it's child's play compared with what I've already been through. (Ten bucks says that's another sentence I'm probably the first ever to utter.)


  1. What to say? Wow GOLD in your liver, you are so lucky! This does all sound very interesting and it sounds like a great option. Good thing you have such great doctors that know about all the crazy kinds of treatments. When the treatment is over, do you keep the gold?

  2. SHEESH. Seems like now is the best time EVER to have cancer...with all of these advances, it'll become a fad soon enough. Shel, glad to hear you liked your doctor; sounds like she likes you too (bien sur!), and it's strangely comforting that she knows FIRST HAND what it's like to prepare for something like this. Thanks for keeping us updated--ytb, jbird

  3. Here you go:

  4. Shelly!
    I just visited my mom, who is in hospice right now. She said to me and my sister, "Don't let the funeral home get my gold teeth! You make sure you get them then take them to get weighed! One of them I've had since (my brother) was born." pause. "It must be 24-karat gold."
    My mom is still my mom.

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