Getting that inner glow

Beltane and the Recovery Moon

On the way over for my planning ct I thought about cancer from a Great Wheel perspective. Winter is coming for us all. We know that and the Great Wheel reminds us that the cycle is the same for all humans. On NPR long ago I heard a doctor say, “Everyone forgets that the death rate for each generation is 100%.” Oh. Right.

Cancer is one of the many guarantors of our personal winter. A friend of mine decided to see cancer not as an aggressor, but as a visitor, a guest in her body. All right, if that’s the way you see it.

I look at it differently. I do not see cancer as a visitor or a guest, certainly not as a friend. I don’t see it as an enemy either. Rather, thinking again in a Great Wheel way, I view cancer as a weed. One definition of a weed is a plant out of place. Not sure if cancer has a place in the same that way a dandelion or a Canadian thistle does, but the idea is very similar.

2013, Andover

Cancer, like a weed, wants to thrive, needs to thrive, at the expense of the garden in which it grows, my body. It’s not evil; it has no intention beyond survival, but its survival and mine are incompatible. So I want to get down on my hands and knees, take out my favorite Japanese gardening knife and cut the little bastard out.

Since I don’t have, like Archimedes wanted, a place to stand to do this task, I’ve chosen the folks at Anova Cancer Care and their Japanese gardening knife equivalent, the Cyber Knife. Just like in a garden, it’s important to remove the weed and not damage the tomato plant or the carrot or the bean plant growing next to it. Care must be taken.

Today the inner landscapers of Anova looked at my pelvic area under a ct. Their goal was to establish firmly the boundaries of my garden, the weedless part of my body. They do this by locating my pelvic bones, my bladder, my rectum, then drawing a cyber-volume of space in the prostate fossa. That space comes up to the edge of the rectum, “kisses the bladder” as Dr. Gilroy said, and has wide enough margins to include as much of that volume as possible without doing damage.

2013, the healthy garden, Andover

Inside that volume is the weed. The cancer. Each day, five days a week, from June 17th to August 6th (no glowing on the 4th and 5th of July, God bless America) the cyber knife will beam 200 cGys of radiation into that small plot, a now empty and weedy bed. Over the 35 treatments I’ll get a full 7000 cGys of radiation, hopefully enough to weed this troublesome patch of my garden.

On Tuesday, June 18th, I go to Anova for my first Lupron shot. This is the second gardening tool. It focuses on what feeds the weed, testosterone. And removes it. It’s a blunt instrument though, unlike the cyber knife. It goes into the whole body and shuts down the testicles and the adrenal glands as far as testosterone production goes. It is, in effect, chemical castration. Oh, goody.

I’ve said, not in jest, that I knew I was a gardener when I began to side with Farmer McGregor in the Tale of Peter Rabbit. Now I’m on the side of brother radiation and sister Lupron. Weed out those wee bastards. Just go for it.

What Lupron will achieve for me

Here is a list of the common side effects from Lupron. Other than these it makes you feel great.

  • redness/burning/stinging/pain/bruising at the injection site,
  • hot flashes (flushing),
  • increased sweating,
  • night sweats,
  • tiredness,
  • headache,
  • upset stomach,
  • nausea,
  • diarrhea,
  • constipation,
  • stomach pain,
  • breast swelling or tenderness,
  • acne,
  • joint/muscle aches or pain,
  • trouble sleeping (insomnia),
  • reduced sexual interest,
  • vaginal discomfort/dryness/itching/discharge,
  • vaginal bleeding,
  • swelling of the ankles/feet,
  • increased urination at night,
  • dizziness,
  • breakthrough bleeding in a female child during the first 2 months of leuprolide treatment,
  • weakness,
  • chills,
  • clammy skin,
  • skin redness,
  • itching or scaling,
  • testicle pain,
  • impotence,
  • depression,
  • increased growth of facial hair, or
  • memory problems.

Beam at me, Dr. Gilroy

Beltane and Recovery Moon

Slight change in my plans. Got to thinking over the weekend about radiation. I mean, who wouldn’t, right? Littleton Adventist versus Anova Cancer Care. Anova is Dr. Gilroy’s shop. I like Littleton because I liked the imaging folks there, both Kate and me had good experiences there. It’s also closer to home, though not by a huge amount.

But. Their radiation folks do a lot of breast cancer. I know that from the two dedicated parking slots for breast cancer patients. They probably do a lot of other kinds of cancer, too. All good. Yes. However. Anova does mostly prostate cancer. Got to thinking about those radiation beams, the possibility of the radiation impacting my bowels, my bladder, my kidneys. It’s a tight space and aiming the beam will have a lot to do both with the main goal, kill, kill, kill, as well as with the likelihood of side effects now and later.

Went on followmyhealth (a website Anova shares with New West Physicians, my primary care folk). E-mail. Hey, Dr. Gilroy. Decided I’d rather do my radiation in your shop.

Weird choices, where to do radiation. Where to get my Lupron shot. They are though both up front and center. Right now.