Hi! So I asked my radiation oncologist about the dosing of radiation I am receiving. He said I am getting 250 rads (also referred to as centigrays; both measure the quantity of absorbed radiation) per day for my whole brain radiation. I am getting 400 rads per day to treat the subcutaneous node on my rib. He said 400 rads would "fry my brain" but he can give me the higher dose when going after the subcutaneous node because he isn't hitting any major internal organs. Frying my brain was evidently the goal, however, when the doctor performed the Gamma Knife procedure: it involved a targeted dose of 2,000 rads! No wonder he took so many precautions to make sure his aim was accurate.
I also asked how many bags of microwave popcorn the radiation would pop. The doctor said the units used for measuring microwave power are very different from those used for measuring radiation therapy so a direct answer is not possible. He went on to say, however, that he guessed the dose of brain radiation I am receiving is equivalent to the amount of energy in a cup of hot coffee. Think about that one the next time you're standing in line at Starbucks!
Also, I wanted to make one clarification. After talking to a friend who reads the blog, I realized that I may not have been entirely clear about how I'm getting around these days. I am able to walk--slowly, totteringly, but surely--with a single-point cane. I do not use a wheelchair, although I borrowed one when I was at the airport en route to and from Houston because the chair made it faster and easier to negotiate my way through large crowds. I'm starting to practice walking a few steps without a cane. I look like a neanderthal when I do so, but it's progress.