Exploratorius Redux

Atelier Aquarell & Fotografie

Embrace The Suck — RTx Two-Week Update


Parrish, Florida — December 2012
Sony NEX-5R + Leica Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH

Today marks the end of two-weeks and the beginning of the third… with July 10th being the last day of RTx treatment.

Things are progressing well with the radiation therapy — and I’ve since learned that RTx is medical shorthand for it, as is XRT.  I’m still attending my afternoon treatments sessions and then return to my office to continue working afterward.  Side effects now include some low-grade fatigue, some low-grade pain, and some loss of appetite — all of which are slowly building for me.

The treatment room with the Elekta linear accelerator — otherwise known as a linac (you can watch a fascinating YouTube video about how they work here) — is large, and has concrete walls between 3-feet and 7-feet in thickness, with a lead lining in certain areas for additional safety.  This facility has an equally thick, electrically-controlled door for access to the room, which has two separate back-ups in the event of a power failure (the last of which is a mechanical hand-crank).  In the event of a tornado, this is the panic room you want to retreat to for protection from the storm.

I’ve also learned that I’m receiving a 2oo cGy (Centigray) dose of radiation during each daily session.  One Centigray is equal to one Rad, which is roughly equal to 100+ dental x-rays, so each daily session dose is equal to around 2,000+ dental x-rays.  By the time the treatment is complete at the end of seven weeks, I’ll have received the equivalent of 70,000+ dental x-rays — which is right at the safe end of the dose to be applied to someone that has already had their prostate removed.  If the prostate was still in place, then the dosage could go higher.  But even all of that pales to the dosage required for brain tumors — 6,000 cGy per session, or 210,000 cGy by the end of the treatment (equal to some 2,100,000+ dental x-rays).

Fortunately, my treatment sessions are in a bright, cheerful facility that has gorgeous photos on the wall from my friend, Beamie Young.  You can catch her on Instagram here, and on the National Geographic website here.  Such a nice facility — along with Beamie’s awesome images — really helps with maintaining a positive outlook,  as most of the other cancer centers I’ve been to in recent months are depressingly morose.

We have received some kind offers of assistance from others, mainly in the form of meals.  To those who have been so thoughtful, we thank you!  We both appreciate the gesture, but we’re fine for now; I’m not bedridden, I still exercise and go to work every day, and I’m still able to continue running all of the weekly errands for our little household.  Maybe that will change as I near the latter end of the treatment, but — all things considered — I’m doing pretty well at present.

Lastly, I’ve heard from some people that they are uncomfortable with me sharing my experiences while I’m dealing with cancer.  If that’s the case, then please don’t continue reading these posts.  Having cancer and going through the process of treatment and recovery is very isolating, and this is just one way I’m attempting to breach the walls that get built up.  If this is all too much for you to deal with, then that’s your problem — not mine.

6 thoughts on “Embrace The Suck — RTx Two-Week Update

  1. Dan

    Thanks for the update, Mitch. I had some friends step away on my initial diagnosis and it hurt at the time, but eventually they came back. Perhaps they lost someone close to cancer and that wound is just too fresh or too deep for them to be able to be around you in any meaningful way because of the pain it causes them. Perhaps they just needed time to process and reconcile the information. I don’t know.

    That said, however, you have enough to worry about and your last five words in this post are absolutely right on target—it’s their problem, not yours. Keep focusing on your own physical and mental well-being, and keep sharing these freakin’ amazing photographs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      Thanks for the support, Dan. I feel like a Mack truck hit me sometime after my treatment session yesterday, and right now it’s as if I’m wading through molasses mentally. Really weird. Diffuse pain in the lower abdomen area as well, which is usually gone by the time I wake up in the morning.

      I keep wanting to do more new watercolor paintings to share here, but when we get home from work in the evening I’m just spent… I can’t focus and doing anything detailed is beyond me at that point.

      I’m glad you like the photos!


%d bloggers like this: