Day 2 Radiation Therapy:
Today the waiting room wasn't as crowded as yesterday. Now that I have a standard daily appointment time for my treatments, I expect to be in and out in about 1/2 hour. It takes more time to find a parking space and then, of course, even though I have an appointed time, there is the waiting room time.
About three months before I was scheduled to take begin radiation therapy, I received medication and a hormone shot in the stomach. The estrogen reverses the effect of male testosterone and shrinks the prostate. They want the target area to be as small as possible for the radiation. There are side effects of the female hormones. Some men grow breasts. Luckily, I escaped that fate. Some have hot flashes like women experience during menopause. I get 15 to 20 hot flashes a day and, believe me, they're not fun.
When I arrived today, there were five other patients in the waiting room. Two of the men (there are two women vets also being treated) were talking about the effects of their hormone treatments.
"Honey, hush!", I heard one of them blurt out waving a magazine in front of his face, "I feel like a waterfall. I'm just gushing out all over."
"Man", the other one complained, "can't you just say you're sweating? You sound like my grandmother."
I had to leave the room because I really didn't want to laugh out loud at my newfound comrades.
The Varian Trilogy is the world's first image-guided radiation therapy system optimized for both conventional and stereotactic approaches to treating cancer. It costs about $4 million and my therapist told me that it is the latest in IMRT technology. I don't understand yet what IMRT even means but I will definitely find out.
I continue to be seriously impressed with the quality of treatment vets receive at a VA hospital. Not many civilian hospitals can afford the equipment the government invests in for veterans.