We completed our preparations for the course of treatment on Wednesday and Thursday. Because the samples taken in my September biopsy had not been mapped, I had to undergo another on Wednesday morning. I was mightily impressed with the young doctor who conducted the procedure, and with his nurse. They made what could have been an ordeal almost pleasant. He also implanted the three target markers that will be used to guide the proton beam to the correct location. Wednesday afternoon I underwent a diagnostic MRI scan. Those things sure are noisy.
Thursday morning was spent at the Proton Center going through CT and MRI simulations. This involved going through the same steps that we'll take during actual treatment, so that the patient knows and understands what is involved. We were done well before noon, and given an appointment for our first treatment: Wednesday, December 5, at 1:20 PM. Between now and then our doctors will complete plans for the course of treatment, review them, and construct the specialized focusing lenses that allows the proton beam to treat only the cancer.
With our prep work completed, we continued our search for a place to stay for the two month period of treatment. After looking at several more places, we finally decided to take the place on the Ortega River. Actually, it's on a canal just off the river, and is quite close to the Naval Air station (which is on the St. John's River). It had a lot of attractions, not the least of which was being in a gated community with off-street parking. There is plenty of shopping not far away, it's not too far from the Proton Center, and it has a spare bedroom and bath should we have overnight company. Here's a picture of the canal-side of the place - our unit will be the one just left of center, on the first floor, with the lawn furniture.
Once we had a place to stay lined up, we were able to relax a bit. Every Thursday evening the folks at the Proton Center lead a restaurant excursion for patients and spouses. We joined them at a wonderful little Italian place in the downtown area and got to know some of them - lots of fun. Folks on proton therapy sure enjoy themselves. No loss of energy or hair, unlike some of the people I've known who opt for surgery and/or radiation.
Friday morning, both Anita and I were awake early so we decided to head for Chattanooga. We were on the road by 7:00 AM, heading west on Interstate 10 then north on I-75. We got home about 3:30 PM after 490 miles of boredom (only a few seconds of sheer terror ;-). Now we're back in the "wait state" and making a list of all the things we can't do without for two months.