When I hit the big four oh, I found that my body started to fall apart one piece at a time. My warranty had expired and there was No Extended Warranty available! This is the story of my struggle to keep it all together using spare parts and baling twine.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Irradiated to The Max and Beyond
Me She Hulk, Me Angry
A friend called last night to tell me to watch the local news. Apparently the hospital I received my radiation treatment from has discovered a major miscalibration of their brain tumor treatment equipment, starting in the year I received my treatment. The explanation I read stated that the physicist who helped setup the new equipment did not caculate the dosage correctly. This physicist is no longer employed by the hospital group, thank goodness, but apparently the poor souls receiving radiation could have gotten significantly more radiation shot through their brains than ordered. An article about Cox Health System and the overdoses was published by the New York Times, so this is big time news around here. See also an article and newscast from the local NBC affiliate, KY3.
I did not receive radiation treatment to my brain, but I did receive high dose rate brachytherapy which is individually calculated by a physicist - with my luck the same physicist who botched the calculation for the other machine. The first two brachytherapy treatments I received were 15 minutes with a very heavy radiation source. After reporting side effects after both of those treatments, I was apologized to and was told that "they" had not meant to irradiate my entire body, just a quarter inch into the skin (which is standard for brachytherapy) so they were going to change the radiation source and length of my last treatment. It was only five minutes long with a much lighter source. I did not have the side effect issues I had had with the prior two treatments. I speculate that there was a gross miscalculation for the first two treatments.
I also received external beam therapy, which during my treatment was delayed several times because new software was being installed. I don't know whether it was for machine calibration, machine control, or other purposes, but it did throw the patient flow off so it had to be related to treatment.
I am very aggravated because I have been struggling with after effects of radiation treatment for the last five years, and have been unable to get local physicians to acknowledge the cause. I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but perhaps part of the problem I had getting a diagnosis was that they were already aware there was an issue with the equipment/physicist in the first place. After all, the physician I saw in St. Louis had no problem stating my digestive, nerve and incontinence issues were due to radiation treatment, while the Dr. Dunces I saw locally had me doing the testing shuffle insisting that it must be some other organic or disease issue. The local colorectal surgeon was the only one willing to state that the problems I had were from radiation exposure
Whether it is ever officially acknowledged or not, I am certain I received too much radiation for my body or my tissue to handle. I have contacted the hospital and asked them to please investigate. I hate to have to escalate my inquiries through official channels, but have no fear of doing so if needed.
I feel like the Incredible She Hulk, irradiated and glowing green ready to tear up some buildings in my rage. I guess there isn't much to do about it now the damage is done, but gosh durn I'd like to put the smack down on some doctors!