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Radio therapy, here we go

21 November 2008

So we went to see the Oncologist a few days ago. And the news wasn't as nice as we had hoped. JD is now having prolonged episodes of double vision, headaches and some dizziness. The docotr felt it was time to start treating the tumour. They prefer waiting with this as long as possible because radiotherapy might actually make a benign low-grade tumour turn in to a malignant high-grade one. But it is a small risk. However, it is one we need to take.

And so next week, we go back to the hospital where JD will be measured and fitted with a facial mask. On that mask, they will mark the exact spots where the radiation beams will be entering her head.

The word Cancer was used properly for the first time. Brain cancer. Sounds terrible. The word 'inoperable' was used as well. The tumour is in a place where they cannot cut it away. Basically the tumour is not a single lump but lots of little bits of tumour in an area that controls important brain functions.

The radio therapy can not remove or shrink the tumour but it can stop the growth. That would mean the healthy brain around the tumour will no longer be swollen. That will mean no more headaches and no more double vision. It would mean a pretty normal life. People have survived for decades after having this treatment. But we also know others have died. Most low grade tumours turn in to high grade in the end. The question is: how long before that happens? Especialy since we already know it is inoperable, we are really hoping this early intervention with radiation will work.

It is a 6 week course. For 6 weeks, 5 days a week, JD has to go to a hospital an hour driving away from where we live for a 30 minute treatment session. With her double vision, she won't be able to drive herself. So that will have to be me. My boss will be happy about that. Not.

Thankfully, we have great friends and there is already an offer for JD to stay overnight with a friend who lives near the hospital. Even if we can arrange it so that she can stay over with different friends a few nights a week, then I can drive her on other days.

I am already upset when I think of JD feeling ill and being scared. Because initially, her symptons will just get worse instead of better. She will lose hair where the beams hit her head, she'll feel ill, dizzy, headaches, more double vision, loss of appatite, loss of memory and concentration, tired and so on. And that is apart from the additional side effects from all the medication she will be taking. Steroids, anti-seizure drugs, and so on.

This whole tumour is unacceptable. It is just not good enough. She is NOT going to die of this. Not now, not in 10 years, not in 25 years. I WILL not accept that.

Tumour, are you listening? Bring it on you bastard! We're coming to get you.

3 comments:

Nancy said...

This is for JD: I think it is horrible that this has to happen to you. I hope that you will not be too sick and that you can hopefully return to school very soon. I am a semi-religieus persoon, but i will mention you in my prayers. I hope that doesnt offend you in any way. Take care and if you feel down, remember that there a lot of people,including me even though i dont know you,are thinking of you and hoping that you can lead a normal life again.
@M: Ik wens jou ook heel veel sterkte toe in deze moeilijke periode. Ik hoop zo dat jullie nog heeeeeeel lang samen gelukkig zullen zijn en dat jullie twee oude tandeloze dametjes worden met attitude:) Take care. Groetjes van Nancy

Julie said...

My thoughts are with each of you. Have strength, love and respect.

Dutchcloggie said...

Thanks for the kind words. It really is nice to know others are thinking positive thoughts for JD (and me) We're struggling a little with where to put this in the grand scheme of things. Will RT stop the growth forever? Or just for a few years? Chemo on the horizon? How long? How bad? Hopefully things will fall in to place over the next few weeks.

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