CT Scan/Radiation and Reggae

I wrote the radiation part of this blog last week, but have been unable to find the time to post it. I felt the need to update everyone of my recent CT scan results prior to talking about radiation. I learned today that I have a new tumor in my right lung. That means the three months of chemo I’ve been on has been ineffective. The spot isn’t large and I believe it can be radiated. My current tumors aren’t particularly challenging, the challenging part is finding a chemo that works. Because my cancer has a mutation, research shows that there are only two chemo combinations that are effective. Unfortunately, I’ve had them both and they weren’t completely effective. I will be able to treat my current localized spots with radiation and surgery.

It was hard to hear that my chemo was ineffective. Instantly, my thoughts went to dying and not being here for my family. I began to think about the future and the possibility of getting a tumor in a spot that’s not treatable. I was not appreciating the moment.   I have two spots in my lungs that will be able to be removed or killed through radiation and surgery. I can’t focus on the future because all of this is out of my control and I’m unaware of the big plan for me. All I can do is try my best at everything I do and to cherish the moments I have with my family and friends.

 

Radiation Reggae

 

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Getting ready to receive radiation treatment.

As I was lying down on the radiation table looking up at the tree canopy images on the ceiling, I wondered what this next phase of treatment would bring. They gave me a list of potential side effects. I was anxiously awaiting radiation when the machine’s arms began rotating around me. With each noise I heard, I wondered what it was doing to my body. I began feeling a burning sensation in my chest where I presumed my nodule was located. The burning lasted for 15 minutes and then a voice over the speaker said, “Things are looking good. We are about to start treatment. We are just waiting for the doctor to give us the okay.” Wait, What? It hasn’t started yet? I quickly realized the burning sensation was a self-induced side effect.

I received four treatments in the course of one week. I never did experience any burning sensation during my radiation or have any noticeable side effects. I would take radiation over chemo any day. I was fortunate because I’ve heard horrible stories of radiation side effects. The process for me was smooth. On treatment day, I would drive to Hopkins, change my clothes, get called into the radiation room, choose which music I would like to listen to, get locked-down to a table, lie still while the radiation machine arms rotated around me, get up and change my clothes, and drive back to work or home.

At every treatment, the tech would let me choose the type of music. I always choose to listen to reggae because it is nice and relaxing, but I soon realized it is also foot-tapping music. I had to consciously think about not moving because I didn’t want them to “zap” the wrong area.

Now my schedule is a CT scan, today, April 23rd , meet with lung surgeon on the 24th, surgery on the 29th. This surgery is planned to be less invasive than my previous lung surgery. It will be laparoscopic and my hospital stay should be for a few days. I will then wait four weeks and go back on chemo in June.

Not being on chemo has been wonderful. I have been able to play more with my children, work more, attend church more, and enjoy friends and family over Easter. I’m also excited because my oldest daughter’s birthday is in May so I won’t have a chemo hangover for her kid and family birthday parties. I love not being on chemo and not a second goes by that I don’t appreciate the freedom of not having a chemo pump attached to my chest.

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Easter Vigil. Janie coming into the church

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Easter morning

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Christ statue at Hopkins. I pray here before every appointment.

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6 Responses to CT Scan/Radiation and Reggae

  1. Elisabeth Gallaher says:

    I appreciate your honesty and sharing your words that are so hard for anyone who has experienced a diagnosis of cancer to share with another human being, in writing or out loud. I did not have to experience chemo with any of my tumors, just surgeries and radiation treatments. I know what you mean first hand about not being able to think about the future, trying to make and take in every memory with family and friends, wondering when/where the next tumor will appear and wondering how to make sense of it all. Someone once told me that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. They never had cancer. I think some of us are given more than we can handle sometimes but God sends us angels help lift us up, cheer us on or carry the load for a little while. Of course the teacher in me thinks there is always a lesson to be learned, sometimes the lesson is intended for us and sometimes we are the vessel through which the lesson is shared with others around us.
    The radiation I received 15 years ago to help save my life and my leg has come full circle. The cartilage has given out and there is nothing holding my leg together. So I will limp around until the bone finally gives out too and I lose the leg that I fought so hard to save. I should not have been able to keep my leg because standard treatment for the type of cancer and size of the tumor was amputation at the hip. The bone should have shattered or the cartilage should have given away between 5 -10 years after the radiation. Every step I take comes with the question of will it be my last. But I continue to take steps because I can’t let the fear of what might be in the future hold me back from living in the present. I have done the impossible and so have you. We will continue to do so because we are survivors!

    • weinkp1 says:

      Elisabeth your words are beautiful and came to me at a time of need. I agree with so much of what you said. Thank you for your kind words, deeds, and support to my entire family. You are now on my prayer list.

  2. Betsy says:

    Hi Kevin and Janie- Just wanted to let you know that we think of you daily. You are such an inspiration and your experience and the graceful way in which you are sharing what you are learning about life is making me appreciate and have more gratitude for the little and big things in mine. I now understand what they mean when they say you battle cancer. It seems like on a daily basis you literally have to become a warrior and engage in physical, psychological, and spirtiual battles to hold onto this mysterious thing that we call life. I have always thought that you are one of the truly kindest people I have ever met, which is why it seems so unfair that you are being made to suffer. But maybe it’s because you are such a good and influential person that this is happening to you….maybe you were chosen to wake the rest of us the hell up about how we are living our lives and what’s really important. I have confidence that you can beat this. That your suffering will end and that you will continue to serve and teach us all in a much more meaningful way than you ever could have dreamed before you started on this unexpected journey. Here is one of my favorite quotes: “The lotus is a flower that blooms in the mud. The thicker and deeper the mud, the more beautiful the lotus flower blooms.” Stay tough as nails and lots of love to you and your girls. -Betsy

    • weinkp1 says:

      Thanks for the beautiful message. I too believe it’s important for me to talk openly about my illness and how it has shaped my life. I hope writing about my experiences and perspective helps influence others to appreciate everyday they have with their loved ones and friends. I like the lotus quote. I have not heard that before and it relates to what I’m going through now. I hope I’m blooming.

  3. Marsha Anthony says:

    Hi Kevin. I am Marsha Anthony, Kevin Gladstone’s Mom. You are in my thoughts every day wishing you a full and speedy recovery.

    • weinkp1 says:

      Thanks Marsha. Your son is one of a kind and is a great friend. Now that he’s engaged maybe he’ll get married in under 14 years.

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