Well we had a delightful week in Sacramento, making daily visits to the Crocker Nuclear Lab at U.C. Davis.
I spent a lovely half hour each day in the mask they made, my head literally bolted to this metal brace while they took X rays to make sure I was lined up. They put eyelid retractors in to hold my eyelids out of the way. Now that was a little freaky & uncomfortable, although for a good cause (don’t burn anything that’s OK if you can help it). Claustrophobia? Not me I guess.
After several X-rays and small adjustments of my position, they all ran out the door and told me over the intercom to keep staring at the little blinking red light and they were starting the treatment. There was nothing visible from the proton bombardment, except the final day I thought I saw a purple glow, IDK if that means anything. The treatments only lasted 60 seconds, then they rushed in (three of them were in the treatment room with me) and took everything off. I had to wear an eye guard for half an hour while the numbing drops wore off, just a precaution.
My tumor is small relatively. Dr. Mishra said I was lucky and unlucky to have the tumor develop where it did… lucky b/c I saw the electrical activity of rods and cones being disturbed. Floaters and flashers, and a growing gray blot where there is a blur. Anywhere else and I could have missed it until it was too large to save the eye or even the rest of me. Unlucky because it was right in my central visual disk where the macula, fundus, optic nerve are located. See I got a crash course in eye parts…
Dr. Mishra gave me great odds of 1. staying alive, reasonable odds of 2. keeping some of my vision, and reasonable odds of 3. keeping the eye itself. #3 gives me the creeps! She said that is the remote chance that they don’t “get it all” — they don’t repeat the proton therapy they just remove the eye. But I am grateful for whatever outcome cuz it is better than what many people have to choose from. People have gotten by with less and had good lives and these are the cards I was dealt. That is the brave me talking. I’ll be unhappy with any loss but there is something out there that chooses each of us and this is my first real how de doo…
That’s it for 3 months, when I go back to see Dr. Char in San Francisco for a complete workup to find out what happened. What I ask for is to keep the vision I have, and for the tumor to be dead. Why do they use protons? Because they are on the scale of the DNA molecules they are sent to destroy. If the protons break the DNA chains, the cells will die when they try to divide. That’s what we want, dead cancer cells.
The lab was totally interesting. The lab people were wondering who the heck I was after I began asking them questions, like how fast are the protons going, what is the decay rate, how much scatter, etc. That part was fun.
So now back to normal life. I fully expect some kind of letdown around that, but we are looking forward to taking over the tile business in a couple weeks so my adrenaline will keep pumping I guess.