Friday, May 1, 2009

nucular decay

Hello everyone

Ken and I are just driving back from Eugene, I had my final brachy radiation today and we took Josh to the airport. We had a great visit with Josh, he certainly seems to have "grown up" this first term of college. He had several long walks on the beach, and several "supreme burritos" at El Halapenos  and basically, for now, got Bandon out of his system.

This "Brachy" treatment there was a nurse in training tagging along with the regular nurse, and her explanation of the treatment added a whole new perspective.

The radioactive seed "resides" in a machine referred to as "the house".  The "house" is about 2 ft by 2ft by about 3 feet tall and on wheels.  There is a thin clear plastic tubing coming out of "the house".  When they have the "cylinder" properly placed inside me they take a few xrays to make sure it is in EXACTLY the correct spot. (the cylinder looks like a plexiglass cigar and the purpose of brachytherapy is to radiate the vagina where many "recurrences" of endometrial cancer occur)

They then hook up the plastic tubing to the plastic tubing inside the cylinder,  dim the lights and turn on some new age music. Then they all go into a little cubicle and "the house" makes a noise and "apparently" the seed then travels up the tubing into the cylinder. Apparently I am radiated during this time.  I have to say that this is all theoretical to me because I have had no signs that anything has happened to me. What if it is all pretend and they are just billing me 2 thousand dollars a week??? 

( Are we watching too much of Law and Order...? The other night on L and O, a pharmacist in order to raise money for some religious group, diluted the cancer patients chemo infusions by a half.....hmm....and I am wondering why my hair started to grow this chemo cycle....)( I was relieved the hair fell out on my legs, to make sure I was getting my moneys worth :) )

Now is the interesting part. "the seed" is a radioactive bit of cobalt (I think it is cobalt) and like anything radioactive, it "radiates" for only so long. So as "the seed" is used over and over again it starts to loose its radioactivity (that is called decay). 

Every radioactive substance has its own rate of decay, 1000 atoms of uranium, for instance take 4.5 billion years to decay.  Iodine 131 takes 8 days. So as the seed gets old, the treatments get longer. So if you are getting treatments with a NEW seed they are short, and with an old seed they are longer.

I was thinking if they used uranium they would never have to change the seed :)

....also I was also wondering how many "other people" this seed has gone in and out of.....hmmmm...

I guess there was some sense of achievement today, in that at least one form of my cancer treatment is over.

I am feeling much more positive about the outcome at this point.

On Tuesday I will have stress echo, which is an ultrasound of the heart while it is being stressed. (I gather it is whilst I am on a treadmill) to see what happens to the pressures in the heart whilst I am exercising.

Wednesday I will be getting my third chemo.

Peace and love

Janet Bates

jankenb (at)

The reason I am listing my email address like this is that some "spam bot" has found me and I am getting a lot of mail from poor people dying of horrible diseases, with large sums of money they want to send me. ( I have always wondered if anyone actually falls for that stuff.)

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