Saturday, May 08, 2010

Punched in the stomach? Nah, just a speed bump.

Reid's journey back to good health kind of hit a speed bump this past week. Maybe we should have been expecting it. We know radiation is done to kill any remaining cancer cells that might have survived chemo, but still we thought the worst was behind us.

We learned that he is not a candidate for Proton Therapy which we thought might make radiation safer for him. Because the mass passed through bone and into his spinal canal they must radiate from the front and the back. (It was also wrapped around his heart.) They're going to try and protect his heart and lungs as much as possible, but they're concerned because he's young and the potential for problems later on are very real. We also were told that his diaphragm is partially paralyzed on the left side from the mass pushing on a nerve, so his breathing on that side isn't what it should be. This is probably permanent. Another reason why they're concerned about his heart and lungs being damaged from radiation. He was told to follow a low cholesterol diet and not to smoke. The potential for a heart attack within five years is very real. However, everyone agrees that he must have radiation due to the size of the original mass. Even though we've been told he's in remission there probably were cancer cells that survived the chemo. I get the impression that the mass is large even to them at MD Anderson and they've probably seen just about everything.

Just when we were all excited about chemo being finished we get all this news.

And the list of side affects for radiation to the thorax and central nervous system is a lot longer than I would have liked. I know they have to tell the patient everything, but it is a little disheartening to see it all listed.

Yesterday they did a radiation simulation which is "make believe" radiation so they can get him positioned on the table and see where they're going to direct the radiation. Last night he got a call telling him to come back on Monday morning because they want to do another one to see if they can get him positioned better. I know they're taking time with his case and not leaving anything to chance.

We also got a call from the head of the radiation department's nurse asking us to have the hospital that did his surgery Fax the pre-surgery and post-surgery MRI reports to him. She said he's very thorough and wanted to see them too.

So, we'll be back down at MD Anderson for most of Monday and I think Tuesday and/or Wednesday too. Once the radiation starts it will be every day Monday through Friday for four or five weeks (I can't remember exactly how long they said).

Anyway, I think I'm going to be busy for the next six weeks or so and might not have much time for blogging. I'll try and jump in here and post once in a while.

Thank you for being on Reid's journey back to good health with us. We appreciate your warm thoughts and prayers.


  1. Bless you, Betty, and best wishes for the radiation's success and the very minimum of complications.

  2. Betty, I wish Reid and the rest of your family the very best....I will be thinking of you all, and we will be here when things settle down. Happy Mothers day enjoy your day the best you can.

  3. I know you'll be with Reid and make him strong through this. Best wishes.

  4. Hi Betty,
    This is another new page or as you said "bump in the road". Remember if God brought you to it, He will bring you through it! God bless and guide your family and the doctors that are treating Reid!

  5. Dear Betty and Reid, I will be praying that the best will come out of this for you both. Lots of hugs...Loretta

  6. Dearest Betty, I was so sorry to read this...I cannot imagine the pain you are going through with this. And I have no words of wisdom to help you through.

    All I can offer is my prayers and strength from afar.

    You are all on my prayer list and I am going to send this to all my prayer warrior friends.

    If there is anything I can do...send cards, help in any small way, please let me know.

    jennymatlock at cox dot net

    Hugs and hope,
    Jenny Matlock

  7. Hopefully this bump in the road will be gentle and do the trick, Betty. I will keep you all in my prayers. My Dad had radiation, it wasn't the most pleasant of experiences but I don't think from his experience it was as bad as chemo.


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