...so are surgery, tumor, chemotherapy and radiation.
There are also a big bunch of other words I don't like that now belong to me, like Stage IVB small-cell neuroendocrine tumor and 'very rare'.
There are some comforting things, however, the first one being that I am still alive with most of my faculties intact, and I am improving every day.
Another thing is that Stage 4 for this kind of tumor means things like size and placement (like next to the brain).
Also, this tumor is rare because of where the crazy thing was. Yes, there are nasal/sinus tumors, many of them. Neuroendocrine tumors are also a very common kind of cancer, it's just that you don't find those kind of tumors in the nasal/sinus area.
It's like being a poster child.
I am also causing all the doctors involved to do a lot of research. (I'm not sure I'm so unique on that one, it seems like cancer diagnosis and treatment cause a lot of effort in the research department.)
However, there are several words that I do like, doctors who are called perfectionists, nerds, and careful. Words like, 'we expect you to be cured'.
My doctors do inspire our confidence. They are kind, efficient and answer our questions before we ask them, that is a good thing. Oh, we still have plenty of questions and ask them, too, but they are more personal things, like how many problems will I have during treatment, and will I be the same again?
So, there are plans out there for treating this type of tumor, all our doctors are working together, making the plans to fit my circumstances.
As far as I understand things at this time, the chemo and radiation will start at the same time. The chemo is cisplatin based and is given to make any cancer cells left more vulnerable to the radiation.
I don't know anything about cancer treatment, really, the nuts and bolts of the process, I mean. I could have known more, since I know a few people who have had cancer. But, I don't. And anyway, some of that stuff changes so quickly, it may not have done me any good.
Normally, radiation sites are marked onto the skin with some sort of indelible ink. Thankfully, they don't think that is a very good choice for radiating on the face. Also, because of the sensitive nature of a good deal of the stuff that resides in your head, they want to be able to be very precise and accurate so nothing really important is damaged. Which means I have to be tied down, so I can't move.
Now, how they do that is really very interesting. they make a mask out of a plasticky-feeling stuff that is molded for my face and shoulders and then marked with the radiation sites.
Since radiation is a 5-day a week for 6 weeks proposition, there are a lot of things prepared ahead of time so that every day, I will get put in position, zapped and go on my merry way.
So, before the CT scan that day, which is one of the things they will use to figure out just where to aim, I lay on the radiation table, (with a nice warm blanket, why are doctor's offices so cold!?),with one efficient technician on either side, who molded a head rest under my head, and then they slapped the very warm mask over me, snapped it to the table with about 10 snaps, and molded it around my face. Then they put wire over the incision sites so they would show up in the scan, whooshed me through and I was done. I could see through the mask, (it's mesh), at least with one eye. The mask was smashed down so tight I didn't try too had to open the other one. It isn't uncomfortable, really, and I am reasonable enough to know that what has to be, just has to be done.
They colored the incision area for better viewing through the mask.
And the stuff didn't come off when I washed my hair this morning!
Soon, the 6-week mark will be here and the doctors want to start treatment as close to then as possible. I can't decided if I want time to go quickly or slowly. Either way, the time will come and then I probably will want time to go quickly. So, if the end of summer comes in a hurry, you can blame it on me.
I've been hoping I would be able to comb my hair into something looking like I was used to, but a huge healing incision on top of my head isn't helping. Clips in my hair, pull. So, I've finally decided to come out of hiding. My latest housekeeper is back to her regular life, after helping us out for over a week, so we took some pictures at the airport.
On a special note, to all those who have sent cards and letters, and things, thank you very much, they are greatly appreciated.