Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Radiation Treatments

As most of you already know, I started radiation therapy yesterday, Monday September 12!
Dana and I had been over to talk to Dr Larry Mundy, the radiation oncologist at Hillcrest Hospital here in Waco, last week and were set up to start our 6 weeks of treatments.
It is an interesting process, Dr Mundy has to map out where to direct the radiation and needs to make sure my head is perfectly still during the 30 second procedure, this will ensure that the radiation is going where it is supposed to, ie the tumor margins and not the healthy brain!  The only way to ensure this is to build a special plastic mask to hold my head still and then get the mask clamped down into a special holder.
I have had two treatments, two of many I might add....6 weeks, 5 days a week, monday - friday.....but so far no complications.  I spoke with the radiation oncologist today who asked how things were going and he admitted that I should not have any side-effects until the 2nd or 3rd week.  He said I should expect a few side effects after treatments; some slight hair loss and maybe some skin irritation.  He also said that a few patients will experience some nausea, fatigue, malaise (sleepiness) and headache.  So far, I have not had any side-effects.  I did talk to him about the last week of treatments and my desire to go to South Dakota and he did not see any reason I would not be able to go and could have my last two treatments when I get back.
Also, I am gladly getting over the dreaded Coxsackie A virus of the Picornaviradae Virus group, otherwise known as "Hand, Foot & Mouth virus" that I contracted from my 17 month son, Parker!!!!  Something he picked up from mothers day out!!!  Unfortunately, it is not as common in adults and IT IS quite painful, especially on the hands, feet and mouth!!!  Luckily, it only lasts a few days and the treatment is regularly scheduled max dosages of Tylenol and Motrin.  (Tylenol is 15mg/kg and Motrin is 10mg/kg, BTW, most 1 yo kids weigh 10 kg and most 4 yo kids weigh 20 kg)  Unfortunately, there is no antibiotic cure and the only treatment is supportive. I would recommend alternating dosages of the medications every 3-4 hours the first 2 days and I would set my alarm clock to give meds through the night, especially having gone through what I have the past 2 days, it is torture!!!  Obviously I have not had HFM before and would not recommend it to anyone of any age!
I digress!!!
I continue to get wonderful support emails and cards and well wishes from all our friends that I run into about town.  Dana and I are so glad to have all the wonderful support from everyone both here and abroad and so look forward to having all this drama behind us.  I know this is a life-long journey and I appreciate everyone that has given their support and all the prayers.  Please keep them coming for us and yourselves!
We truly appreciate everyone.
David and Dana
Audrey and Parker