Today at 2 pm, received the radioactive seed implants. They told me originally that I’d have between 3-5 wires, which means 6-10 holes (in one side and out another). Because my tumor was apparently large, even though the external beam radiation seemed to have blasted it away, there was no way to be certain that all the microscopic cancer cells were wiped away. And because there was a small tumor left in the neck, they were very convincing that I’d be better off going through this to be sure.
So during surgery when one’s mouth can be opened much wider than normal, they chose to make seven wires, or 14 holes. And because I have so many radioactive wires, and their individual dosages are xx, I’ve only got to keep them in for 31.2 hours. That means that about 9:15 tomorrow evening, they will taken out. Until then, not many people want to come in my room. Signs on the door read “keep out.”
I had asked the doctors that if visitors can’t stay for more than five minutes at a time and no more than 20 minutes per 24 hours (to eliminate risk of exposure), than how is it that I can be exposed for 32 hours? The answer was that this is a very low dose equal to the amounts I was receiving during the daily external beam treatment in October/November. The dose now is much lighter but it is planted locally on the area for a much longer time period so as to minimize downside. Still, the exposure answer I’m not getting.
So after the doctor inserted the radioactive strips behind a portable lead wall next to my bed, the technicians from the company took radiation readings at various points around the room and toward the door, then they masked a boundary area about two feet around the door where a visitor could stay for no more than five minutes.
Speaking of visitors, when in the step-down unit, the guy across from me (maybe in his 40’s) had neck surgery and it looked radical. It was two large slices horizontally from one side to the other across his neck so he also had a trachea. Point is, his wife was just about always there, like GV, and on the weekend, his dad came and Sunday some of his buddies came for several hours. I was thinking ‘thanks that my family doesn’t live close, even though they’d still come,’ but they are respecting that I’d rather go through this without visitors, especially not being able to talk. It’s not so fun to have to write everything out. This is not a complaint, only being thankful. It’s a time of investing the time and plugging through a week of hell and then coming out of it and beginning again the recuperation process.
But it’s strange being here for sure, seeing other people walking around without stuff hanging out of them. How wonderful it is to just walk around. It’s being an active player full-on in the game of life (opposed to being on the injured list or the injured reserved). Going from active player to being sidelined is not fun. But, it is humbling, and it’s a fact for some of us, either by plan or by accident that hopefully will only be that super temporary blip.
BTW, all the comments received are so much appreciated and are more valued given the circumstances than a visit would ever be.