Radiation on the brain today

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We kept warm by the fireplace watching TV as temps plummeted to below -14. It was cozy. We joked that we were living like mountain men.

Sorry for the lack of updates. Between hospital visits, spending time with Kevin and work, there is little time left for blogging.

So, last Friday’s MRI revealed 2 lesions (cysts) in Kevin’s brain. They didn’t tell us the size and we forgot to ask because we were in shock. Radiation is today at 1:00 pm. We’ll drive there and go home for recovery. I’ll be working on my  laptop and at home – this is the greatest blessing of freelancing!!

Until this is done, they will not begin other, systemic treatments. He must recover from radiation, they say. We don’t understand this, and find it incredibly frustrating.

Radiation – Who you gonna call?


Kick some ass today, radiology surgeon dude!

Much like the beams used in GhostBusters, one beam can’t do much damage, but when all are focused on the same area, they kill, kill, kill. But such focus requires careful mapping, and custom-made head gear and mouth piece so you don’t accidentally move your head. You are locked into position. This all happened so fast we forgot to ask whether radiation hurts or not. We don’t know. The side effects for focused radiation are supposed to be few – sleepiness and general not feeling well for a  few days. After a 2 week recovery period Kevin can begin other treatments.

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You can tell they’ve explained this hundreds of times. A nurse with a flip book goes through what radiation and its setup entails very quickly. It was a lot to take in at one time.

What are they killing in radiation? Brain cells gone bad? No. These are rogue melanoma cells that decide to live in Kevin’s brain and grow – quickly. They invade and expand, and are not brain cells which have morphed into something else. So we are happy to kill these invaders.

Melanoma grows so quickly that by the 2nd MRI to plan for the radiation, we were horrified to learn they detected a new lesion, and possibly a fourth.

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A new coat for my Sweetie! So deserved!!!!!! I’m glad to see you warm.

In spite of our horrible day at the U of I, we made our way back home and I told Kevin he had to buy a new coat. He resisted, in spite of constantly shivering! Our recent negative-degree temps were unbearable, and none of Kevin’s coats zipped or were very warm. We were lucky enough to find a Columbia jacket on sale at half price! He’s warm now, and it’s great to see him somewhat comfortable in such cold weather. It warms my heart, and blue looks great on him!

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Thank God for simple tasks

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Making toast.

I am reminded that there are many things to be grateful for, as is what happens in times like these. I have decided the things we take for granted and don’t think about are the most precious – like knees. You don’t appreciate them until they go.

So today I am grateful for routines. I am grateful I have a to-do list each morning of simple, mindless tasks that remind me life still has some elements of normality woven through. Like letting Joey out and getting him fresh water and food each morning.

I’m also grateful for things which remind me that other dear people might be near watching over us. Like our breakfast nook which is exactly like my great grandparents, or stumbling on an old letter from the daughter of my 2nd grade teacher, telling me she found my letters and that her mom had died. I corresponded with her for nearly 30 years. Perhaps I am like an elephant, ruminating over old bones, but they bring me great comfort.

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Our breakfast nook, which looks nearly exactly like my great grandparents’ nook.

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My 2nd grade teacher Jeanne Carnighan and I corresponded for over 20  years. She was a brilliant and well-travelled lady! Her last trip was to Antarctica.


3 thoughts on “Radiation on the brain today

  1. Still love reading your posts. All the best to you and Kevin, always! Don’t know how you find time to blog at all, especially now. But, I’m glad you do. Just found out yesterday that my dad, did indeed, also have cancer. Small cell in his lungs. We are awaiting a prognosis. He’s 73 and failing despite this new news. Your posts and wit help me, and hopefully others, that we can’t take things for granted and that the little things mean more than we realize.


    • I’m so sorry to hear that. He will find he is surrounded by a lot of love – this is the truly amazing thing about cancer. I will pray for him too. It is a terrifying thing, but he will find that with love which pours in, even from complete strangers, cancer is doable. Small cell is challenging, but remember there’s a lot of great research going on out there. There’s also mounting evidence that using a pot vaporizer (inhaling without the scalding heat and ash) may help slow down or reduce the size of tumors. This is a disease which requires the brilliance and cleverness of humanity to beat, but someday it will be beaten. Someday very close on the horizon it will be a manageable condition, not a killer disease.


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