Day -4

Today was Day -4, the last day of my radiation treatments. It was the smoothest and easiest radiation session yet, and I even got to ring a brass bell to signify my graduation from the select club of radiation patients served at UC Davis Cancer Center. I am feeling pretty tired today, though, perhaps because of the cumulative effect of the radiation treatments themselves, perhaps because of the anti-anxiety drugs they’ve been giving me, perhaps because of the IV fluids they’ve been pumping into me 24/7 for a few days now (and which have added about 8 pounds of water weight to my body, as well as general sluggishness) or perhaps because I’m just not sleeping that well at night, despite the Ambien.

However, I did get back up on the exercise bike they have been so kind as to provide for me, and pedaled away for about 20 minutes in order to break a respectable enough sweat to merit a shower and change of outfit. If I can manage to do that every day, even just for a bit, they tell me the deep breaths will really help keep my lungs clear, and my lungs are the weak spot where infections tend to come to roost in my body during low-immunity periods.

And yes, I’m coming up on another one of those periods imminently, since tomorrow I will be getting a whopping dose of Cyclophosphamide (aka Cytoxan) which is very toxic to many things, among them lymphoma, immune systems, bladders, kidneys, hair, and probably a lot else they don’t care to mention. (Hence all the liquids, which will help to sluice away the unwanted vestiges of these chemicals.) So even though I will likely continue to feel more tired, I’ll need to make an extra effort to get up, move around, get on the bike etc. in order to keep my lungs clear and stimulate my body to get rid of the nasty leftovers.

The pleasant surprise around here is that I am (thus far) allowed out of my room after 9PM, as long as I’m gowned up to the max, so I can walk back and forth in the transplant unit hallways for a while before bedtime. Even that little bit of a walkabout does a lot of good.

My brother came in today for another visit; he had already taken his first doses of the Neupogen that will ramp up his stem cell production, so I wasn’t too bummed that he beat me in a lengthy game of chess. We’ll have a rematch tomorrow, I trust, on what I am excited to note will be Day -3. As long as you’re not suffering too badly (and believe me I’m really not) time kind of flies when you’re counting down to a new lease on life.

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