MUSCLE INVASIVE BLADDER CANCER
Alea jacta est, as my Latin teacher would say "The Die Is Cast", the Rubicon is crossed, rien ne va plus, nothing is more ...the decisions have been made:
The third of June, I will be taken to the UCLA Department of Radiation Oncology and begin a therapy that promises to kill the cancer and preserve the organs with a minimum of side effects.
HDR Brachytherapy, until now, is not widely practiced, and when it is, it usually is for prostate cancer. Very successful though!
HDR – Stands for “High Dose Radiation”, because it operates with high doses of radioactive iridium. The tumor is radiated only for minutes, but several times a day. After three or four days, I will be finished - and that's it!
These three, four days, however, are frightening. On the first day my legs and pelvis will be constrained, and small plastic tubes are passed through the scrotum into the invaded bladder muscle. These tubes are adjusted with a template and cannot move during therapy. For that purpose my lower body is anesthetized and immobile due to an epidural lasting three or four days.
The next day, after a computer has calculated the movement and retention of the radioactive pellets with the requirement to radiate the cancer and not the healthy tissue, I will be moved to another building, where the radiation takes place.
This goes on for a few days until the desired amount of radiation is reached, and after removal of the plastic tubes I may go home.
I have to admit that this seems to be a torture designed specifically for me.
I wish I could feel heroic, like for example, Tim Leary, who would turn it into a great spiritual adventure, and have everybody line up for a three day epidural in no time!
Despite my horror being tied down, the situation has the advantage that, because of the novelty of the procedure, the people conducting it seem way more enthusiastic than your average hospital personnel. I will try not to disappoint them and make it through and get better.
And what would be the alternative? Pout?
Because we also have to move (the house has been sold), we will be packing until Saturday, and Sunday I will have to start the preop rituals, and Monday Robin will deliver me to UCLA.
I will try and report from the place of chemistry and healing, of magic and mystery..?