Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I'm Taking the Standard Path

Ok, so this is a rare type of thing for me but I've decided, after much deliberation, to take the standard path and do radiation for my tumor. It really came down to me being against the doctors and just about everyone else I talked to so I decided that this time I need to not let it drag out the 10 months I let it go with surgery. There's pros and cons to radiation but in the long run I have to believe that the pros outweigh the cons. Whether it does or not remains to be seen but in the world of cancer you have to make your decision and believe it is the right one at all costs. There is no right and wrong answer with brain cancer because truthfully, there is not cure. You just have to manage the tumor the best of you ability and put your trust in God for he is the only one that can cure it.

The main issues with radiation in the brain is that it can only be done once in a lifetime. This is the one thing that scares me the most. My tumor is still on the slow side and, unfortunately, gliomas tend to transform to higher grades as well as return. So I am playing the one time card on what could be a non-issue for a while. If my tumor does transform it will become the most deadliest type of tumor GBM (You've heard this mentioned with senator Kennedy). If it makes this transition, I have already played what is first mode of defense against it. However, I guess I have to believe that in the time it will take mine to transform, there will be new technology out there and possibly even a cure. Something the doctor said to me made a lot of sense and part of my decision came from the words. "With an Astrocytoma, even a grade two acts like cancer and invades the brain. Radiation is an option with it. With a grade three, it's really not even an option it's a necessity because if you wait, it could be too late."

Anyway, they are supposed to call me in the next two weeks and we will get started. I will attend sessions daily monday through friday for six weeks. Side effects tend to generally start in weeks 2-4 and can range from nausea, fatigue, hair loss, effects like a sunburn, headache, to minor mental disturbances. These can last for up to 4-8 weeks following the end of radiation.
The biggest complaint and the only one not usually able to be "treated" is fatigue. The other major high risk we run is that my tumor is near the optic nerve. I don't pretend to completely understand this but I will explain it to the best of my ability. The brain can handle 6000 rads of radiation before the good brain cells are unable to recover. The optic nerve can hand 5400 rads. Of course, we want to use as many rads as possible to destroy the tumor cells. However, we will have to not use the full so we don't damage my optic nerve. He hasn't presented me with the full plan on doing this yet but he is going to simulate it to see if we can come from a different angle and avoid it more or just how much the optic nerve will actually receive. I'll know more next time we talk. As I told him, that's one deficit I'm not sure I'm willing to take the chance on right now at my age. Therefore, I guess there's still a chance radiation will become something to tuck away but for now you all are aware of the plan.

No comments:

Post a Comment