We met with radiation and oncology this week and wanted to fill you in. We first met with the doctor who will be overseeing his radiation treatment. He is very personable and obviously competent. He gave Nick a brief exam, went over medical history, discussed logistics, side effects, etc. He was very good about answering all of our questions and never rushed us. Nick had a CT scan, then they fused that with the Dec. 1st MRI. This tells them how big of an area to hit and where. They marked the location on a specially molded mask that covers about 3/4 of Nick's head. He will wear this every time he goes in for a treatment.
Actual radiation treatments will last for about 2 minutes, but he'll be at the hospital M-F for half an hour each day. The first 4 weeks will be directed to a slightly larger area than the remaining tumor. The last 2 weeks of treatment will be concentrated on just the remaining part of the tumor. It works like an x-ray machine in the sense that once the machine is off, Nick is not conducting radioactive waves. So there is no reason for him to isolate himself in order to protect others.
The side effects are mostly what we anticipated. Fatigue is a certainty. The degree of which is hard to say until we're there, but it's good news that he's young and otherwise healthy. He should have an easier time and recover more quickly. The fatigue will be cummulative, meaning that he will be most tired near the end of the 6 weeks of treatment. The oncologist projects he'll be around 70% of his normal energy level. It will take 2-4 months after for him to regain all of his energy.
The oncologist also took a lot of time to answer questions, which is even more impressive since it was over the lunch hour, when they are typically closed. Nick will be on Temodar, the same chemotherapy drug he was on before, but at less than 1/2 the dose. This will be taken every day for 6 weeks. He believes that Nick will do very well with this treatment. he will have weekly bloodwork and meet with the oncologist every 3 weeks.
Radiation will have no affect on fertility. Chemotherapy, however, could have an affect, although it did not last time. We will not be able to attempt to conceive until late summer. There is a risk of birth defects while the chemo. is still in his system.
We did have some friends over to pray with us this week and much of what they said was a confirmation of what we've been feeling / experiencing all along. It's a huge blessing! They will come again once treatment has started and are available at the drop of a hat. God is good. God is faithful. And we are ready.
Love & prayers,Jen