Off To Camp
Radiation is finished, and off to camp he went! If you look at the latest pictures, you'll have a better understanding of the positioning involved with the radiation treatments. The mask over the face was screwed down so his head couldn't move, and his upper body was in the white molded form holding it in perfect alignment for the radiation beams. Then the computer directed the radiation to the specific marked and mapped sites in the targeted areas, allowing for the least amount of radiation possible to irradiate any residual cancer cells.
Because radiation does significantly increase the risk of causing cancer 10-20 years down the road, the least amount needed to do the job is the goal. Thankfully, the treatments only took around 10 minutes, so most days Kevin didn't have to be in this restricting hold very long. About every 3rd treatment, though, they had to remap and take pictures to make minute adjustments. On those days, Kevin needed to be in this hold position for longer periods, which was uncomfortable. But that is all over now, and we are told that the side effects he is experiencing will go away in about a month.
The side-effects started accumulating about 1/2 way through and slowly progressed, specifically a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite, fatigue, and very tender and sore skin in the chest, neck, and back area. All of these were expected and normal for the radiation that he has received and all will go away again. He was warned to be very careful about sunburn, specifically to the chest area which will burn very easily for many years. Needless to say, he was loaded down with sunscreen before leaving for camp.
His hair is really starting to come back. The dome is now light black peach fuzz. His wt. did go back down a few lbs by the end of radiation which was to be expected, but now he should be getting his appetite back and putting on wt. more easily. The chemo effects that took away the taste of many foods and left a metallic taste in his mouth should be slowly leaving also--which will make eating more pleasurable. His tongue is still coated with chemo residual, but that should hopefully also go away soon. He is still having difficulty with his right hand and wrist, which may need therapy if it doesn't resolve soon. But it seems to be better then a few weeks ago, so I think as these toxic cumulative side effects slowly leave his body, all of these things will resolve.
I just hope he feels well enough to really enjoy his camp experience. He was still having a lot of nausea the morning we left for the airport (Wednesday), but hopefully the Zofran will keep it at bay, and the Motrin has been working to relieve the sore throat. He was looking forward to this for a long time, and I'm so thankful that he could go. It was just barely possible. The labs taken on Monday, 6-27, showed the ANC at 1008. But he only had one more treatment left, so they did it. If he would have had more to go, they would have had to stop them until the ANC was up a little more.
The girl, Heidi, in the picture is also a cancer survivor. She is recovering from brain cancer. She will be going to camp with Kevin, and came over with her mother on Saturday to meet him. She is very gregarious, and they hit it off immediately. They met again at the airport, along with the 3rd person from Mpls. Children's Hospital (Adam Moran) and they all flew out together. I know that they will all have a great time. Hopefully Kevin will remember that he packed a camera and take some pictures while there. If so, we'll post some upon his return.
Dick and I have the rest of the week to enjoy our vacation--both took this week off to just relax and recuperate from the hectic pace the past 6 month have been. We may get motivated and take the small boat out for some fishing and lake cruising if the weather cooperates, but other then that, the only goal we set for ourselves for this vacation was to eat, sleep, and breathe--should be easy to accomplish!