Final Day of Radiation

My mom wrapped up radiation therapy today.

For six weeks, radiation targeted a brain tumor located in her right frontal lobe, with the goal of killing tumor cells or inhibiting their growth. Here, my mom holds the radiation mask that was molded specifically for her, which she wore for all 30 of those sessions. The bottom of the mask has locking mechanisms that connect to a table that keeps her in the correct position while she’s under the machine, and helps the radiation beams target the same area each time. In a few weeks, we’ll see how well the radiation, along with the first round of chemotherapy, worked against the tumor.

The chemotherapy she used is called Temozolomide, which is often referred to by its brand name, Temodar. It’s an oral chemo drug, as opposed to an IV administered one. Of course, the word “chemo” brings its own set of fears (my mom calls it her “poison,” which I’ve tried to get her to stop, at least when we’re talking to doctors and nurses who need exact names of drugs and not nicknames, even if those nicknames are accurate in their own way). My mom took to the chemo extremely well and didn’t vomit at all throughout her treatment, which is common due to nausea.

She was able to choose between two anti-nausea medications, Zofran and Metoclopramide, to take an hour before chemo every night, Metoclopramide being the stronger of the two. THC lollipops helped as well, but these can be tricky if you don’t have experience with them. Have the workers at the dispensary explain the dosage to you in detail. My mom overdosed on a sucker that she sucked on for hours, which ended up in a trip to the emergency room and her yelling, “this is it!” because she thought she was dying. Luckily she wasn’t on chemo that night and was just giving it a test run (she was better a few hours later), but using a sucker is different than taking a pill, and requires some finesse.

Join me in congratulating my mom on completing this first step of her journey, all while keeping a smile on her face.

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