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Monday, October 20, 2014

Radiation

We got up at 4:45A this morning and headed to Denver for our appointment with the radiation oncologist, Dr. David Raben. He and his associate, Dr. Chad Rusthoven, put up all of Marshall's scans and x-rays and pointed out the "hot spots." They took as much time as we needed and we really liked both of them.

There were two hot spots that they said need attention now. One in the spine and the other in the left hip. Both are places where Marshall has been having some pretty bad pain which has caused him to be on every-six-hour oxycodone.

Dr. Raben is going to talk to Dr. Flaig to see if they think it's necessary to see an orthopedic guy first to check the strength of the hip area before radiating it. He said his opinion is that the area is strong enough to handle the radiation without fracturing but he wants other opinions on that.

Assuming we don't have to see an orthopedic doctor first, we have an appointment for next Wednesday with Dr. Raben to get the radiation areas "mapped" and start preparing for the actual treatments. Then, if everything goes as planned, we will be given our radiation schedule. Dr. Raben says it will be between 5 and 10 treatments (to be determined later) given daily (not sure if that includes weekends or not). So we will just move up to the hotel for that period of time because it is right across the street from the hospital.

If anyone remembers Marshall's last radiation sessions two years ago, you will remember he developed severe radiation colitis which put him in the hospital for three days.  Dr. Raben has promised us that won't happen this time....

Also next Wednesday, we will get lab work done and then we see the Nurse Practitioner to get the results. They want to keep close tabs on the blood counts now that Marshall is on the chemotherapy pill. And I am guessing they will also check the PSA again to see if the chemo has had any effect yet.

We asked if getting chemo and radiation at the same time could cause any problems and both doctors said no, that was actually a really good approach.

So far, Marshall has been experiencing EXTREME fatigue, but no other side effects of the chemo have shown up. Let's hope it stays that way. And we are told that the radiation will probably also add even more fatigue to the mix.

Now we move on to our older dog, Marlee. He is deaf and partially blind and he has some doggie dementia. He walks into corners and can't figure out how to back out of them, when he goes outside he can't figure out how to get back in the house, he falls a lot, etc. etc. But he does not appear to be in any pain. We've done a bit of crying over this because it probably won't be very long before we have to make a decision about him. It is heartbreaking. We're going to get him to the vet this week to have her check him out. It just kills us to leave him behind when we are in Denver for long periods of time because we want to spend time with him.

That's the story for today. It was a very long and emotional day. I had to ignore my job today and I thank the gals who covered for me even though they were already being pulled in ten directions.


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