Monday, June 14, 2010

Family Update - On To Plan B

Friday, June 11th was Reid's last day of radiation. Originally it was to continue into this week, but the decision was made to end the radiation on Friday. He has now received the number of treatments usually given to patients with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. They decided because of the lung toxicity they wouldn't risk the extra treatments.

The radiologist told us that she had never seen a mass as large as Reid's in a Hodgkin's Lymphoma patient. In fact, she said the head of radiology at MD Anderson had never seen a case like his in 30 years. I knew his mass was large, but I was surprised to learn that it was large to all the experts too. The doctor told us that it was amazing to her that he originally walked into the ER and wasn't carried in on a stretcher and intubated.

We were told that many doctors and physicists were consulted about his radiation treatments. He received a CAT scan before each treatment so everything could be lined up to the millimeter. At least that's how I understood the explanation. He had to hold his breath numerous times during each treatment to help protect his lungs and the treatments took around 45 minutes each time.

They were very concerned about his lungs because he's young. His left lung is smaller than the right lung because of a nerve being paralyzed by the mass. This will probably not recover. And one of the chemo drugs can have a negative effect on the lungs too.

We're very fortunate that we live so close to one of the best cancer hospitals in the country. I know that everything possible was done to protect his heart and lungs. Any after effects will be cumulative and won't show up for while, but I'm hopeful that he'll do just fine.

Friday he got to ring the bell. Whenever anyone completes their radiation they ring the bell and people in the waiting room applaud.

This is Reid with a couple of the radiation therapists.

Jim had the day off on Friday so he went along with us.

They have free valet parking for radiation treatments. Reid is waiting for the car to be pulled around and holding the mask he had to wear for all his treatments. At the end they let them keep their masks. We've been joking about mounting it above the fireplace.

One last time we head for home.

He's starting to have more trouble with his throat and esophagus. That was expected and he was given pain medication. It's just gotten worse over the last day or so and the pain medication isn't working as well. Today he's just eating ice cream. He's also very fatigued. The radiation has left him more fatigued than the chemo ever did, but hopefully that won't last too long. The doctor did tell him that for some people it can take up to a year to get their energy level back up to where it was before treatment.

Tomorrow we have to go back down to the hospital so he can have his chemo port flushed. I believe they'll wait until his next set of tests and scans in August before it's removed. Meanwhile, it has to be flushed every month.

While waiting for Reid to finish his treatment on Friday I walked through the hospital gift shop. I saw a plaque that read, "The rest of your life is all about how you handle plan B." I would have bought it for Reid except it was kind of girly looking with hearts and fluff. However, his life has certainly changed in the last eight months and now it's on to plan B and a life post cancer.

Thank you for your warm thoughts and prayers.


  1. Dear Betty and Reid; I'm so glad the treatments are finished. What a brave man you are, Reid. I'll be praying that all will go well. I'm glad you were so close to the great Drs!

  2. I hope he gets something better to manage the pain. Ice cream for every meal would be nice for a while...

  3. Hi, Betty, thank goodness the treatments are over. I hope Reid starts feeling better quite soon. You look great in the group photo!

  4. I will certainly be keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers. It sounds like your positivity is a blessing to your family. Stay strong!

    Best wishes,


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