I lived in the Portland, Oregon area for thirty-six years. But when I left in 2013 I was still tattoo-less. How can that be? Portland is one of the national epicenters for tattoos. Fear not, this void will be corrected on Tuesday. But not just in any ordinary tattoo parlor. My first tattoo will be applied at Arizona Oncology in the radiology department. Pretty cool, huh? Tattoos are part of the mapping process so the technician knows where to aim the radiation gun during zapping sessions.
For the past couple of weeks I have developed a dry cough which has gotten progressively worse over time. My recent CT scan showed that the lung tumor near my air way has grown nearly 30% in the past month. This tumor is most likely the culprit causing the cough and, if left unattended, would most likely end up blocking the airway, resulting in a collapsed lung which could be followed with pneumonia. None of these adventures holds any appeal whatsoever to me. So Friday Lee and I had a consultation with Dr. Frye, a radiation oncologist. Isn’t that a great name for someone who’s job is to zap tumors? Dr. Frye’s recommendation, to my delight, is to fry the sucker! Because of the precarious location of the offending tumor, Dr. Frye will use external low dose radiation with Monday thru Friday sessions for three consecutive weeks. He is 85% confident that this will dramatically shrink the tumor with minimal risk or side effects and can be repeated in the future if necessary. This is a palliative treatment of current symptoms and to prevent medical complications from the tumor growth. I currently have ten named tumors in my lungs, with who knows how many other microscopic cancer cells that are busy forming tumors. This treatment is not a cure, but it will help me fulfill my goal of living well. Speaking of named tumors, the names given are rather mundane. The names are tumor 1, tumor 2, etc. I think they should name them like we do storms: tumor Rachel, tumor George….
One side effect of my upcoming treatment is the cancellation of our planned trip to Maui the first week of December. Of course we “chucked it in the fuck it bucket” and moved on as we sipped champagne with lunch at the restaurant Feast.
Below are a couple of my recent creations for your perusal.