Cancer Treatment is Mostly Driving

Friday morning Matt and I went to see a radiation oncologist. This is one of the fun things we're doing together while the kids are out of town. Actually, I always have fun going places with Matt and chatting with him. If you know him in real life, you know he'll talk your damn ear off. We also ate at a new taqueria last night. We are nailing this dating thing.

Back when the idea of radiation was first raised by my oncologist, I was hoping that if I needed it, I'd be able to go get irradiated by somebody up here in my neck of the woods, rather than having to drive all the way down to the big hospital at the perimeter. Which is Atlanta-speak for the interstate beltway that goes all the way around the city in a ring. We live way up the highway north of that ring, about a forty minute drive from the big hospital. Forty minutes of driving is not THAT long, but it's forty not-very-awesome minutes. Anyway, my onc was like, "Yeah, you can go see Dr. Chad, the local dude ten minutes from your house, he's good, no worries." Really, his name is Chad.

This matters because we're not talking about one trip to get radiation. Count yourself lucky if you don't already know that radiation treatment is every day, five days a week, for five or six weeks. I know, like, geez.

So part of me was not even surprised when the radiation issue came up again at my appointment on Wednesday and the oncologist was all, “Yeeeaah, I really think that you should drive down to the big hospital and see Dr. Wonderful. Dr. Chad is good but he ain't her. She's thoughtful and she won't treat you unless she thinks you need it. Other doctors have the machine on before you get in the room. You will like her. It will be a long haul every day, but if it were me, I'd go to her." Dr. Wonderful’s name had kept coming up. The surgeon had recommended her, and now the oncologist was bringing her up. They really truly are like a sorority, these docs of mine; it's interesting to me how they operate and how they communicate with each other about cases. Anyway.

We rolled down to see this Dr. Wonderful this morning. I did like her. And it's funny, these docs must get the word from each other that when Matt and I show up, there will be a test, because they are like going on and on about this protocol from MD Anderson and that study and 30 year outcomes and what have you. We ran the smart cop/dumb cop on her and I was satisfied. She also had a young intern with her and he got to see my boobs. Score one for him.

The doc marveled at how good my reconstruction was looking, and I was like, "Yes, in spite of everything I am totally hot, thanks for noticing." Or maybe she meant it looked good from a medical standpoint.

She called my original surgeon while we were there and conferred with her, and she wants me to have 28 treatments. We are in agreement with her that we don't want to half-ass this thing.

28 days of daily 80-minute round trips down to the perimeter is 37.33 hours of driving. I asked if I could be put under general anesthesia for the five weeks of treatment, but nope. So dang, here's one aspect of this whole thing that I didn't think was going to be the most maximum hassle that it could be, but it turns out it will be that much hassle. I know, please call the wahmbulance.

I'm not sure how all the scheduling will work out, but I won't start treatment until after school starts for Laura. Hank won't be in school yet. The doc actually said that I could bring Hank with me, and the nurses could watch him while I got zapped. She said a lot of mothers of young children do that. That doesn't sound like an attractive option, but we'll figure it all out somehow.

There's some weekend boob news for yous.

Becky Woomer writes at Suburban Matron.

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