Monday, May 13, 2013

please no exploding heads

Halloween in May plus candy at the counter, what is not to like ... except the dawn of Stage 4 lung cancer metastasized to my brain has begun. 

After tag team mowing the lawn this morning, my daughter and I met with Stephen Milito, MD Medical Director of Oakwood Cancer Center and radiation oncologist plus his staff including nurses and radiation therapists for treatment planning.

I’m scheduled for 14 treatments of external beam radiation therapy beginning Wednesday. Treatments will be Monday through Friday with weekends off to ‘recover’ then review of progress with Margarita Gareis MD, my oncologist and to consider if gamma knife or cyber knife would even be an additional option before chemotherapy.

Radiation treatments allegedly take only several minutes, allegedly painless and the equivalent to getting an x-ray. Oakwood offers courtesy round trip van transportation which may be a great way to meet some people like me in my new normal.

 … and give my daughter a break. With over a quarter century caregiving experience myself I treasure her support, companionship and involvement but always have one eye on her.  

I was fitted for a mask that secures to the radiation table holding my head from moving and improves targeting the radiation. Unlike the sample I am playing with my real personal one was soaking in warm water waiting to be molded to my face. That was a bit weird something between waterboarding and starring in a creature feature.
As we spoke of potential side effects, IMHO men are vainer than women and hair loss is not appealing. Think I may swing by my hair salon and work out a two stage transition to buzz cut then to something bald and bad like Bryan Cranston's cancertainment character Walter White from 'Breaking Bad'.

They swore up and down that so far they have never exploded any one’s head. Nor could they remember any one ever asking about such a concern (obviously they lack my fascination with grade B horror films) which did not stop me from suspiciously eyeing the closed medical waste trash can before distracted by a bowl of mini-tootsie rolls at the counter.

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @


  1. Hhhhhmmmm.... I'm not fond of things that make me feel "trapped"... I don't know that I would like the mask...

    You might enjoy having less hair now that warmer weather is (almost) here!!

    And lastly, I certainly hope Dr. Gareis lives up to the first name and serves margaritas during consultation!! It would certainly help to take the edge off!! ;)


    1. Thanks Jackie! Smiles are always welcome. :)