Tuesday, February 14, 2006

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0082 - Booster & Fatigue

They narrowed the field of radiation again today for something called the booster stage. I’m not sure I understand the rationale for this any more than I understand how 5-FU is considered a radiation sensitizer for neo-adjuvant treatment of rectal cancer. As I search through the multitude of clinical trials that deal with locally advanced adenocarcinoma of the rectum, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery, I quickly realize that some of the questions I have may not have been answered definitively yet.

And so, I have to depend on the meaning of the words alone – booster, sensitizer. And the implied meaning of what the radiation therapists say. Narrowing the beam further for the final three days of treatment means that I will have less to fear from radiation proctitis.

I’ve started to feel better day by day as far as pain on defecation is concerned. Part of that is simply because I’m controlling the diarrhea better with the daily doses of Imodium (2-3 2mg tablets per day), thereby reducing the frequency of bowel movements. That alone makes the pain more readily managed. But I’m convinced that the narrowing of the radiation field is also sparing the anus and allowing some healing to occur.

Perhaps not so strange, though, is that my fatigue is no better, perhaps worse. I found that simply driving to the cancer centre today and going to my appointments left me tired. I didn’t even want to go in to work after treatment because of the fatigue. But, after arriving there, and talking to co-workers and helping troubleshoot problems, I felt energized enough to require only a short nap in the early evening. This is progress!

Fatigue is probably the most ambivalent side-effect for fairly obvious reasons. If I can psyche myself out merely by walking around the factory talking to people and fixing problems, then maybe the fatigue is not entirely treatment related.

I’m even thinking about getting back into a regular exercise regimen as the side-effects recede. Whoopee!

No comments: