My Personal Cancer Journey — A Dilemma

Yesterday I met with the Radiation Oncologist who will oversee my radiation treatments for the bone lesions in my spine which have been causing my severe back pain. First of all, fortunately I have been managing my medications better so that the pain is minimal. My quality of life has improved drastically. However, eliminating the pain is foremost in my mind these days.

At any rate, the program that was outlined to me begins on April 29th and ends on May 12th. I will be receiving a daily dose of radiation (treatments only last 15 minutes) on weekdays for ten (10) days. There are many small lesions at various vertebrae in my spine. The one which is probably causing the pain is located at T-9 (Thoracic Vertebra #9). However, we must address all the lesions since they could become troublesome in the future. Thus the radiation will span the spine from T-3 to S-2 (Sacral Vertebra #2).

The radiation will be administered concurrently with my continued chemotherapy although the treatments will be given in different venues. Radiation can only be done at the Cleveland Clinic in Weston (about a 45-minute drive) while the chemotherapy will continue to be done in West Palm Beach (much closer).

So what is the dilemma? The dilemma has to do with whether I want to carry out the above-described program here in Florida, or leave early and do everything in Rhode Island. My heart is leaning toward returning to RI, since I miss my family, and the excessive heat and increasing humidity in Florida is very uncomfortable for someone like me who sweats a lot.

I plan to call my primary cancer physician (in RI) and discuss the matter with him. I need to find out if Roger Williams can carry out the program that we have outlined, and if I can get appointments scheduled so that not much time is lost in the transition. Wish me luck!

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