My Great Leap Of Faith

Think about it for a second. The radiation is there to ‘douse’ any microscopic cancer cells too small to find. But in a best case scenario there are no cancer cells! It begs the question whether radiation is helping or hurting or maybe just wasting everyone’s time?

My seventh radiation session took place yesterday. So far, so good. There has been some nausea, but mostly it’s under control with medication. I haven’t missed any work or even been close.

I’m a frequent flier now. It’s become a daily routine. I’ve even stopped wearing a gown and just take off my shirt.

Once a week I meet with the radiation oncologist to make sure things are going well. We concentrate on how I’m feeling because there’s no way to know if radiation is actually making a difference! There’s no baseline to check improvement against.

Think about it for a second. The radiation is there to ‘douse’ any microscopic cancer cells too small to find. But in a best case scenario there are no cancer cells! It begs the question whether radiation is helping or hurting or maybe just wasting everyone’s time?

There’s no way to know. In my case radiation is a leap of faith in my doctors.

Radiation messes with the cancer cells’ DNA and stops them from multiplying. It messes with the healthy cells too, but they are able to repair themselves. That ability is missing in cancer.

As the ray gun travels around my body it’s beam’s shape and intensity constantly change. We want to zap what’s left of my pancreas while leaving adjacent organs, like my liver, alone. It’s not that easy.

The radiation oncologist works with a physicist and dosing specialist to map out a plan of attack. This is all custom medicine. Every day begins with a CTscan to make sure I’m lying in exactly the same position. It’s the precision of the beam that makes it all necessary and possible. It’s pretty close to magic.

Twenty three more radiation sessions to go before it’s back to chemo and then… (hopefully) donezo!

5 thoughts on “My Great Leap Of Faith”

  1. Geoff,
    I continue to pray for your successful recovery. Thank you for sharing your progress about fighting against this relentless aggressive disease. You are the first person to share so many important details. It is not only helpful to me to better understand what you and others have to go through, it also allows me to share with other future and current health professionals that I work with in Connecticut. (I work with primarily high school students who are going into the medical professions, as well as middle school students and college students and health professionals through an international non-profit organization called: HOSA: Future Health Professionals. I am the Co-Advisor for Connecticut. Anyone who would like further info about our organization or would like to help out and be a judge for one of our state competitions on March 22 may contact me at susan.troupe7@gmail.com)

    Geoff–I wish you all the best. Glad that it is going well for you. Hope it continues and that you will not have to have any more treatments after you complete this list of treatments.

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