Zap to the Brain

I have gained one oncologist for every week since starting this journey. Hopefully this does not become a thing.

Today we visited the radiation oncologist for the first time to see about the tumor in my brain.

Really it was all good news (once you get over the fact that I have a very small tumor hanging out in my most cherished bodily asset). I will need only ONE, count it, ONE treatment to “zap” the unwelcome little bugger. This treatment should happen within the next couple of weeks. Before that happens I will have another MRI. I will also have a “mask” fitted that will hold my head in the right place during the treatment. That seems important, we definitely don’t want to zap the wrong spot.

Erick and I asked all the normal questions you ask in these situations (as if I really know what normal cancer questions are). The first being, “what are the side effects?” There are two. The first is that the scar tissue from radiation can put you at risk for a seizure, but the risk is much lower than the risk of having a seizure as a result of the tumor. Sounds acceptable to me. The second is that in 20-30 years there is a small risk of developing cancer from the radiation. Seems just fine to me since if we don’t get the cancer I have today, what happens 20-30 years from now isn’t really going to matter too much. Just sayin’.

The other bit of good “news” (using that term loosely because this isn’t really news, but the news bar can be LOW these days) is that this doctor was encouraging about the newest melanoma treatments. She was clear that melanoma isn’t curable, but she seemed almost confident that one of them will work to prolong my life. She also said she thinks the treatments will only continue to get better and be more effective over time. And, that these treatments are allowing, and will allow, the patients that respond to them to live full and productive lives.

She even talked with me about what I would like to do in my career moving forward. I have to admit, I have kind of been shutting down my career in my mind. I have worried that I will never be able to work, really work, again. It was a nice moment of hope and opportunity to allow ourselves to think a bit longer-term than we have of late, even though we’re sober minded about the realities of the disease I have.