Friday, September 14, 2007

What's a head mold look like?

Hi! I'm on my third day of radiation treatment and my second day of chemo. The radiation hasn't been too bad. It's definitely fast! Today, I tried to time how long it takes: the radiation process itself lasts only 30 seconds for each half of my brain (one minute total). You can add in another minute for the machine to switch from the right to the left, roughly three minutes for me to get positioned on the table and locked in, and maybe two minutes for me to get off the table and hobble out the door. The whole radiation process from start to finish takes a whopping seven minutes, including time spent in idle chatter with the radiation therapists! I still have to ask the doctor how much radiation I'm actually getting. I'm not sure if I'll understand the technical explanation, so Kelly told me I should just ask how many bags of microwave popcorn it would cook up.

As for the chemo, I can only say my hopes for a nausea-free experience ended pretty quickly. It's nothing like biochemo--so far, anyway--but if you think I act distracted the next time you talk to me, don't take it personally. I'm simply trying to will myself into not vomiting all over you.

I'm posting some pictures of the radiation process. The first is of the radiation room. Once I'm on the table and locked into place, the table slides under the arm of the radiation machine and the circular mechanism on the underside of the arm drops down to apply the radiation, first on one side and then on the other. The second picture is of the much ballyhooed head mold. The tape--and more particularly the lines on the tape--indicate the area that is radiated. Every time I look at the head mold, I think of Han Solo in "Empire Strikes Back." I don't know why because there aren't many similarities between my plastic mesh head mold and the solid carbonite block in which he is imprisoned. I'm guessing it's just a delayed manifestation of my boyhood desire to be like the captain of the Millennium Falcon. : ) The third picture is of me on the table, locked in place. If you look closely, you can see me smiling for the camera.

In a random aside, I'll probably watch some football this weekend. Nebraska plays USC in the big game of the day. In case you don't know, I've never been a big fan of Coach Callahan. But I may undergo a conversion if the Huskers manage to eke a win. Notre Dame also plays Michigan on Saturday in what is undoubtedly the most pathetic meeting ever of the two winningest teams in college football history. At least Notre Dame has a chance to win this one.


gardiner said...

Jeff, thank you again for the
so-informative and interesting blog. I am sorry to hear about the nausea. Hopefully the Zofran works a bit and you're not too sleepy from that. Have a nice weekend and hello! to all.
Our Love, Meaghen & Brendan

michelle wait said...

Hey Jeff! I hate to hear that you are feeling nauseated from the chemo. But I'm glad to know that you are in the comfort of your own home. Have fun watching the football games this weekend. Go Huskers!
Love you,

teasley_5 said...

Hi Jeff, Kelly, Aubrey, Reagan, Jack and little Finn!!!
Glad to hear you are at home again. Not so glad to hear that you are feeling nauseated. Sounds like you had a great trip to Texas. It's awesome that you not only have a great circle of friends in Wisconsin, but also in Houston. Hope your kids are having a great time in school. I bet Jack and Noah would have a great time telling their kindergarten stories. Our kids are sure keeping busy. Alex's softball team is playing in the sectionals tomorrow (which means they are among the top 16 teams in the state)!! WOOHOO!!
Anyway, enough about us.
Thanks so much for all the detailed information you give us in the blog. We love reading it and will try to post more often. It really makes us feel as if we are right there with you. Keep fighting and we will keep praying for you!
Love and prayers,
The Teasley 5

Katie Clancy said...

Once again, thanks for the window into your treatment and how it all works. Clearly you are in great hands and its amazing to see how precise radiation is. Your descriptions make things easy for all of us to understand - the hospital should cut and paste your blogs into their "What to Expect" brochures! We're keeping our fingers crossed that the nausea gets blasted by the radiation as well...enjoy zoning out to football this weekend. Love, Katie & Ed.

Katie Clancy said...

Hi Jeff! This is Katie Clancy's fiancee here, Ed, leaving you a post! It was finally great to meet you, Kelly and the kids recently when Katie and I were in town. On your last Wednesday post I was interested in knowing what the mask looked like. You must have heard me as there are pictures in this post! I asked Katie when I read the last post if the mask was a helmut style contraption, causing you to sound like Darth Vader. Now it's funny to read this post to refer to Han Solo being frozen. Well, duh! Of course it's better to root for the good guys. And clearly, while the mask momentarily "freezes" your head still, it won't give you that James Earl Jones, deep breathing sound. We're sending our best thoughts to you. Enjoy the football this weekend! Ed

maureen said...

Jeff, I don't know who you write magazine articles for but I think you certainly should be in big demand to write procedure descriptons for patients. You explain things so well. I think the hospital should hire you immediately! I am a nurse at a small community hospital in kentucky and find your writing to be fascinating.
I am one of probably hundreds of people who read your blog with interest on a daily basis and neglect to write back and offer you words of encouragement. Please accept my apologies for being so lousy at communicating-(I did write to you once when you were getting treatment in Houston). I just want you to know my family prays for you and your family on a daily basis. Thank you for your willingness to share a part of your incredible life even with total strangers. Everytime I log on I feel like I am part of your family. We are distantly connected as my son-in-law Dave is Meaghen Gardiner's brother.
Hope the nausea improves. You may want to avoid changing diapers for awhile.
God bless you all
Maureen Williams

Kara Smith said...

Glad to know that there are other people out there who need the visual aids like I do! This was so not what I was envisioning. Now I know! Thank you.

I agree about you writing pamphlet or at least some sort of literature for hospitals and radiation patients. Maybe you could work out something in trade...??? I write for give me free radiation?

I think you don't relize how many lives you are touching. I share your blog with a lot of friends who in turn share it with friends, as I imagine so many of us all do. When I think about it I get overwhelmed knowing how many people you have inspired, touched, encouraged, and amazed. You have sure done those things for me. So, I thank you again and again for it all.

Keep fighting. Hope your nausea goes away soon!

katie.elsener said...

Hi Dodds,
Jeff, thanks so much for keeping us posted. Your thoroughness is much appreciated.
We are so sorry you are nauseated. You are all in our daily prayers.
Go Huskers!
Mark and Katie

jjschuster said...

Hey Jeff, just sitting here watching those poor Huskers loose to USC (whatta shame) and catching up on your blog - which I haven't read in a month. Been busy traveling for work and then watching the boys while Anna had to travel to Paris last week (no, not Paris, Texas either).

Thanks for posting about your treatments. It's comforting to be able to know what you're going through and what the Dr's are doing to make your better. I know that I wouldn't be that public if I were in your shoes. My 3 & 1/2 weeks in and out of hospitals are nothing compared to you. Thank God you're such a strong person and have done so well with everything. I know that I sure wouldn't have been as strong and positive. Keep up the good work!

Got to have brunch with Pat and Tracy today and hear about their home improvment woes. What a story that is!

Anna and Evan say prayers for you every night before bed. We know it's helping!

Love ya,
The Schuster's

Mary Louise said...

Hey, Jeff!
You and Kelly 'are' planning to publish all your blogs/photos in book form when you beat this thing, aren't you? I'd like to pre-order an autographed copy now please...
Oh yeah... and how many bags of microwave popcorn 'would' your radiation cook up?!
Hugs-n-Hope-n-Love to the Dodd Squad from Ohio.
Mary Louise

Marc said...

Jeff: I think we all could use some of your anti-nausea medication after seeing ND and the 'Skers play yesterday. The radiation machine and mesh mask look quite intimidating, and I continue to admire the courage and humor you and Kelly demonstrate through it all. Our thoughts and prayers are with you from Seattle! ... Marc