Since it is been a while since we have updated everyone on my progress, this post is to share some updates on my first round of radiation & chemo as well as share a few pictures.
Day to Day
Today was my 13th day(of 30) of Radiation treatments, and most days I feel great! Treatments are all done Spectrum, about 10 minutes from our house. In addition to radiology, I am also taking chemotherapy medicine each morning. Radiology appointments are Mon. – Fri, while the Chemo and nausea pills I take are required 7 days a week.
A typical morning for us right now involves me waking up at 6:00 to take anti-seizure medications, then making breakfast, taking nausea medications (to battle the chemo pill side effects), followed by the chemo pill, and finally Bri driving me down to Spectrum for my 15-30 minute appointment. We usually try to bring Harlow to daycare in the morning as well, however she currently has hand-foot-mouth disease, which has been going around- so we are waiting for that to clear up.
Once we get to Spectrum, our Radiation appointments are fairly quick. Typically I am on the table for around 10-15 minutes, but today I think it was closer to 7 or 8 minutes, my shortest “brain beaming” by far! The radiologists look at a CAT scan of my brain while I am on/under the machine and can point the radiation beams and levels to specific locations.
Once per week we also meet with our Radiologist Doctor who checks in on my progress, asks how I am feeling, and is an all around great doc. I also get my blood drawn and meet with my Oncologist nurse as well. The blood tests are done weekly to ensure that my red and white blood cells and platelets(?) are up and that I am healthy. Basically, if any of my counts or “levels” get low, then I can be at higher risk to get sick, and would need to take extra precautions, especially around public places such as daycare or grocery stores. So far after my first 2 blood tests, I received positive results back which means I am healthy enough to continue treatments!
The side effects of radiation and chemotherapy pills can vary greatly from patient to patient. I do feel tired in the afternoons mostly, so take naps when I am able. To date, my headaches have been minimal and I haven’t had any nausea which is a huge blessing. My radiologists did say that this week will be when my hair will get patchy and most likely start falling out at a rapid rate- at least on the front right side of my head, but possibly all over my head. I do not believe that the Temodar (chemo pill) causes hair loss but I could be wrong on that. Honestly, hair loss will be the least of my worries, as it’s finally starting to feel like fall here in MI so I will probably be wearing more beanies so I don’t scare the kids with my frankenstein-like scar!
Another thing I’m excited about is I am finally feeling stronger and like I may be able to start working out or playing tennis. I am going to ask my oncologist soon if I can start doing some short runs if I’m feeling up to it. Since my last seizure was on August 5th, I am now comfortable to be left alone and start doing more without assistance or Bri having to worry about me.
Radiology Treatment Specifics
The week before my treatments started on Aug. 23rd, they also inked/tattooed a small dot on my sternum which helps the radiologists line me up straight on the table so that the radiation beams are aimed as accurately as possible I am told that the old tumor location is where radiation is primarily beamed towards, with a 3 millimeter spillover allowance so that meandering cancer/Glioma cells can also be treated/killed to slow future growth. Each appointment is quick, and I don’t feel anything in regards to my brain hurting, feeling weird or anything like that. By the time the 10 or so minutes is up I think I could asleep already if I weren’t so intrigued with the bed moving, and the machine doing it’s thing. Praise God I am not claustrophobic also, because they do strap the mask down very tightly around your face, and I have heard it isn’t so pleasant for everyone and causes a lot of anxiety for some.
Below are some pictures showing the white mask that was custom moulded to the shape of my face a week prior to treatment starting. There are also pictures showing red lasers pointing at me from different points and angles in the room. Those are there to line me up with the facemask and crosshairs drawn onto it, as well as my chest dot, ensuring I am straight on the table and radiation can be as accurate as possible.
We are so grateful for everyone who keeps up with our story, continues praying for my treatment and those who have helped us around the house, brought meals,the list goes on..We excited to get through this first round of treatment which will be finished by October 5th Lord willing.
“We either feed our fear or we feed our faith.”