Friday, April 13, 2012

Planning for Radiation

Mom, Pat, and I drove to St. Louis yesterday evening. We were Houston-bound at 7:45 a.m. via a non-stop flight (why do we ever fly anything except Southwest!?).  Moh (our oh-so-awesome driver) picked us up and drove us to MD Anderson where we had breakfast and sat in the courtyard.

At 1 p.m. Mom had an appointment with Dr. Javle to discuss her chemo regimen while getting radiation. She will begin taking Xeloda again (chemo pills) when she starts radiation. Because she was previously hypersensitive to it, she will take Atarax (like Benadryl) with a decreased dose of Xeloda every day on which she gets radiation (Monday-Friday; off on the weekends). Dr. Javle discussed giving Mom FU-5 (an IV form of Xeloda) via chemo pump, but it would require a PICC line which Dr. Goswami said is very risky (due to increased risk of getting clots). So 28 days of pills and radiation it is.

When I asked what Mom's course of treatment would be if the radiation didn't work, Dr. Javle replied that radiation is like putting a heat-lamp on your leg. You know it's going to burn you, you just don't know to what extent. He said it's guaranteed to have some effect; we just don't know how much or how long it will last.

At 3, Mom had a CT with contrast performed to determine where the radiation beams will enter her body. She is now a PROUD owner of three tattoos :D  A teeny dot on each side of her chest (sorta under each arm) and one just beneath her xiphoid process (in the center of her chest). The dots are permanent, and for now, she also has a bunch of purple lines near the tattoos. The radiation team was going to leave tape on the purple lines, but luckily Pat remembered the issues Mom had with tape on her back (allergic reaction, blisters, and gross-ness), and they quickly pulled the tape off.

We got a chance to meet with Dr. Kelly (the radiation doctor) before we left. He is the nicest, most gentle guy ever. He again explained the risks, side-effects, and such. The type of radiation that Mom will get won't produce superficial burns on her skin, which is great news. It will probably produce dryness, but it is usually easily remedied with Aquaphor. Because she is getting chemo with the radiation and because the radiation will pass through her stomach, it is likely that she will be nauseous. Her nauseousness could start the second day but is more likely to start about two weeks into treatment. She has anti-nausea medicine and will start taking it at the earliest sign of feeling ill. There are some other side effects, but they are less likely to happen.

All in all, a very good day. We're waiting for Moh to pick us up now and take us back to the airport. Please pray for a safe trip for Mom, Samantha, and Mimi when they drive down next weekend and that this new treatment regimen works like a charm. 

Thanks again for your prayers thus far. Have a great weekend!!
Written/Posted by Jenn.

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