Saturday, April 16, 2016

Brain Radiation Week 1

I still can't believe that I'm having brain radiation, even after doing 4 days of it. That's bonkers.

Turns out the radiation itself isn't so bad. It's very quick, the longest one being less than 10 minutes. I think the last one I had was about 3 minutes long. They snap my head down to the table with the wayne Gretzky mask they made me that fits tight to my face so I can't wiggle around and mess up their radiation field. I've been slathering on lavender and frankincense oils around my nose before I put my mask on to help me stay relaxed with a piece of plastic holding me stationary. I breathe deeply during my treatments and remind myself that God is healer, he is present, he is good, he is faithful. Extra oxygen for my brain cells, focus and perspective for my soul.

Apparently most patients don't wear their masks out into the waiting room for pictures...

The blue thing on the back is the part that snaps into the table. 

Day 1 of radiation was on Tuesday and it had me feeling super sick with a massive headache and super tired. We learned in the afternoon that headache is not a normal side effect at this stage of whole brain radiation and I should have walked in and out without noticing andy side effects. The radiation oncologist explained that there was likely some kind of bleeding or swelling in the tumors that caused the headache. He explained that the headache and nausea were very unlikely due to the dose of radiation I had that day. I believe him a little bit, except I think that it was the radiation that set something off up there. Or at least the stress or insult that was put on the tumor tissue. Okay, okay, I don't believe him. You caught me. Either way, the sickness I experienced on day 1 is not likely to return again. I got steroids and nausea meds that night and woke up feeling COMPLETELY NORMAL! So I wen to school and taught my class that morning before going to radiation. Praise the Lord!!!!!

Other than the Day 1 effects, I've been feeling okay from the radiation. I have been much more tired overall, likely from the cancer and not from the radiation (the fatigue from radiation sets in a little later). Lots of afternoon naps, in bed by 9... not too bad ;)

Oddly enough, the goal of the radiation is not to kill the tumors, or even shrink them. I am still a candidate for the clinical trail in Miami, and one of the meds that I will be taking on that trial deals directly with blood vessel formation. The doctors want to make sure that the blood vessels to the brain tumors have been zapped to greatly reduce the chance of them bleeding while on treatment. I think that sounds like a great idea. I would love for those little boogers not to bleed anymore!

April 27 is the last day of radiation, only 8 treatments left. Thank you so much for your support and prayers. We are overwhelmed (the good kind!) and touched by the love and kindness that has been extended to us during this setback. You guys are great.

Things you can be praying for:

  • Pray for my energy level to increase and be sustained throughout treatment and on to Miami.
  • Pray for Carley Jean and John as they surround me and support me through this new routine and schedule.
  • Pray for the radiation to work both short and long-term.
  • Pray that other side effects don't set in, or if side effects do come on, that they will be minor and manageable. 
  • Pray for a restful and recouping weekend. I don't have another treatment until Monday. Pray that today and Sunday provide rest for our bodies and spirits.
  • Pray for my mom as she travels back and forth from North Carolina to help us during treatment.
  • Please continue to pray for full, God-glorifying healing to come about in my body. Pray for all those who read this blog who do not believe but cannot stop watching to see what God may do.