It’s been an emotional, roller-coaster week for me (if you’ll pardon the cliché…). Back and forth to Barrie for consultations, scans, and tests, more blood work, phone consultations with doctors and hospital social services staff, schedules set, schedules changed, confusion over medication, appointments upset. All in all a rather trying time.
Prior to my next stage of treatment — radiation — the oncologist told me I needed another blood test (for PSA levels: even without a prostate the cancer cells produce the prostate serum, remaining an indicator of their activity), as well as another bone density scan and CT scan. Plus I had to go into the hospital to get set up for a radiation planning scan, and back to Barrie to see my urologist.
The oncologist also prescribed hormones, calcium, and vitamin D3. The later two are to help combat any bone loss that might result from radiation treatment. The hormones are to reduce my testosterone, which will help limit the cancer’s growth. There was a bit of confusion about when I was supposed to start taking them. Normally you start a week to two weeks before radiation, but when I got the prescriptions filled, the start date had not been set. I asked nurses when I was at RVH, and called the radiation department, but got conflicting answers. One nurse said wait, another said start now, so I did that even without a date for treatment.
Then I got a call saying my treatment would start Nov. 11, just over a week away. I was glad I had started the hormones. But what about the injection? I’d find out later.
The Monday morning planning session was at the oncology department. I had not been in that wing before. There’s a certain finality about going into the oncology wing. Everything else was medicine: this was cancer. It’s sobering to sit there, waiting to be called, knowing that you and everyone around you in the waiting area is there for cancer. I realized it deeply, sitting there, in a way it didn’t reach me when I went through the surgery and other processes.
If ever there was a moment to realize your mortality, waiting in the oncology department is it.