Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Inside a Radiation Treatment

Welcome to my wonderful world of radiation treatment at St. Joseph Mercy hospital! Everyone there is FANTASTIC and it really has a family atmosphere. Every patient is there at the same time every day, so even among the patients there is a feeling of all being in it together. And some of the older patients have come to look forward to seeing Sarah come in each day. It's quite a joy for us to see her bring joy to the other patients. As you can see, the radiologists are very nice, compassionate, and even invited Jen and Sarah to come back one day and see what happens. Sarah was a bit unsure about the mask, but liked watching.

The basic gist of it is that they make a form-fitted mesh mask that they place on my face each day and strap it down to the table so that I can't move at all. Good idea I guess if I want them to radiate just the tumor and not other more important parts of my brain. Yea, yea - Insert joke here about how many parts of my brain could be evacuated without too much notice. :)

There are 5 different angles that they shoot the radiation from each day and the head of that machine over my head just rotates around and the whole thing takes about 5 minutes. They have marks on the mask and it's all computerized so that they hit the exact same places every day. Also, that way they don't have to put marks on my head, which was the case until just a few years ago. Pretty amazing.

So I am about a third of the way through the 30 radiation treatments, which are every morning at 9:00 M-F. At the same time, I am on a chemotherapy called Temodar, which is in pill form, and I take that every night - 7 days a week. The chemo basically makes the tumor more receptive to the radiation.

All-in-all, it's gone very well so far. Definitely fatigued in the late afternoon and especially evenings, but so far no appetite loss, headaches, skin irritation, etc. which they say should come at some point. Also, there's a cycle to it. I'm better on Mondays and more fatigued on Fridays, and they say that's normal and will continue, but each week my Monday "high" will be a bit lower and my Friday "low" will be a bit lower.

Jen has been a real hero. There is a significant burden on her with having to drive me everywhere while also picking up the slack at home with me feeling like doing nothing but sitting on the couch most of the time that I am at home. You couldn't ask for more love and selfless support from a spouse than Jen has given. And working at Ave Maria Radio - I could not ask for a more understanding and supportive environment and boss in Al Kresta.

Thank-you all for your prayers and support. It is no exaggeration to say that I can tangibly feel the prayer support of the Body of Christ. Please continue, because we will need it in the next 4 weeks.

God is good - All the time!

- Nick


  1. Great post Nick! :) God bless, Reenie

  2. Nick,

    Very glad to hear things are progressing. God bless you and your family abundantly (Jn. 10:10) during this challenging time.

    In Christ,

    Tom Nash

  3. Thanks for the update Nick. I am praying for you guys and just so amazed by your strength and courage. You and your family are awesome.
    In Him,

  4. My prayers are with you and your family Nick! The strength you and your family has is amazing. Take care... Bree Nelson Sage

  5. Cool pictures! Come on up and see me at my Monday clinical at St. Joe's 4th floor East. Yeah, right, cos that's just what you'll feel like doing after radiation therapy! I'll be praying for you every Monday at 9am - and I will try to remember the other week days too. God bless you Nick, and Jen and Sarah.

  6. Great update! Thanks for the pics... it was nice to see after all the descriptions we've gotten :) God really is good and our lives are certainly better for having your family in it! You are in our hearts and prayers! Much love! - The Mitzels

  7. Mr. Nick,

    You and your family have definitely been at the forefront of my thoughts and prayers over the past few months. It's great to hear you are doing well and to see your smiling mug again. It has been too long. The family sends its love and will continue to keep you and the entire Thomm clan in our prayers.

    Nick Johnson

  8. Nick,

    Thanks for the update. You and Jen are in my prayers.

    David Gryniewicz

  9. Thank for the update. The pictures really add to the post.
    We are praying for you and will continue to do so!
    God Bless you all!

  10. We're keeping you in our prayers here Nick. It was interesting to see how everything works, and how wonderful that they are so nice with Sarah.

    I've never run into you back home to meet your lovely wife, but my prayers are with her, it's not easy to juggle everything!

    Blessings and Peace,


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