My first souvenirs! I said yesterday that I was getting a "boost" today. That means they changed the target to a smaller area, now only doing the prostate itself rather than the surrounding area as well. What I am holding are the two "compensators" that tell the proton beam how deep to go before delivering the burst of energy. I now have new compensators that have a smaller target area, so they gave me the ones they will no longer use. They can't give us the brass apertures because they still contain a bit of radiation. They go to a special room for a season, and ultimately are melted down.
After our fellowship lunch today I spoke with one of the doctors here about the different treatments schedules (some do 28 or 29 days, others do 39 or 41). The guys doing the short treatments are essentially pioneers, taking higher doses of radiation for less sessions. They are seeing this as the way of the future. They offered it to me during my consultation, but when they explained the whole protocol, I (and a number of other guys) opted to go with the "tried and true." The doctor I spoke with at noon told me those who are considered "low risk" receive 79 gray of radiation over 39 days. These are guys with Gleason 6's or less (it's a number having to do with how undifferentiated the cancer cells are). Then there are the intermediate risk guys, for whom they do 82 gray of radiation (2/day/41 days). That would be moi and a bunch of others, all of whom have Gleason 7's. Finally there are the high risk guys with Gleason 8-10. Each of them has a specific protocol that may or may not include chemo therapy as well as traditional IGRT. So now I know why I'm doing 41 days, and why I am getting the boost. The "low risk" guys never have that because after much research, the docs don't feel it's necessary. The rest of us mere mortals, however, get the concentrated zap.
I'm trying to decide what to do with my compensators. (I'll be getting two more when I "graduate"). They could be candy dishes (then again, sugar and cancer are a lethal mix). They would make wonderful jello molds for salads when we have in friends ("Would you like mayonnaise on your prostate salad?") Certainly they would be good book ends, but then again they could roll off the shelf ("Martha, I think I just got beaned by a runaway prostate mold!"). But whatever the case, they will be reminders. They will serve to remind me of God's goodness and care for Betty and me when we faced a huge challenge. God is so very good and gracious, and we will always be so thankful to him. Each time I see those compensators, I'll get a fresh opportunity to remember God's goodness. Isn't that terrific?
Do you have memorials? Remember when God's people were coming out of Egypt the vast number of memorials they were led to create just as reminders? Is there anything in your life that serves to remind you of God's love and care for you? If you don't, pick something out, something you'll see "now and again" that will remind you how much God loves you and ministers his care in your life.
Hey, be blessed!