Some Basic Info

I was first diagnosed with malignant brain tumors on 11-20-08 and I finished treatment for those on 4-13-09. I was recently diagnosed with a recurrence on 12-08-09. I set up this blog so people could follow along with my progress and keep up with what is going on in my treatment. I also wanted to put up information from my first go round so people could learn a little bit about what happened to me before.
The blog is set up with the newest posts first. Sometimes I will post stories from my first experience, in which casse it will be slightly out of order, but the titles will let you know. If you want to look at older posts, which may provide a better idea of the whole picture, use the "Blog Archive" tool on the right side of the page to browse them. The titles of the posts should be pretty self-explanatory. If you don't really know that much about me, or what happened, you should check out these two posts first: this one about what's happening now, and this one about my first experience.
Feel free to leave comments, it should be open to everyone now. Thanks for visiting, I hope this little blurb clears up some confusion, and I hope you like the blog.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Last Day Of Treatment!

Today was my last day of radiation, so my last day of treatment. I'm incredibly happy to finally be done with it! Now I just have to focus on recovering and getting back into the swing of things. I will probably keep getting more tired for a few weeks because the radiation stays active in your system for a little while even after you finish treatment, but hopefully I'll start getting more energy soon. Also, due to the residual nature of the radiation and the fact that I was treated with it last year, my body has seen the maximum amount of radiation it can get, so I will never be radiated again (except for small things like x-rays).
So overall I'm pretty excited to finally be done with treatment, it was a pretty long shitty experience and I'm looking forward to a nice easy uneventful recovery. I'm already on that track: I'm pretty tired most of the time and I still don't have a lot of my strength back, but that's about all I can complain about.
I will continue to update the blog, just with updates on how my recovery is going and most likely more pictures, so thanks for reading and don't take me off your bookmarks list yet.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The PICC is Out!

Today I got my PICC line taken out. It had clogged up and the nurses were not able to draw blood from it, and it was really hard to even push fluid through it. The usual clot-busting medicine they use to clear up clogged lines, tPA, didn't work, and I'm almost done with radiation and I wouldn't need the PICC for anything else really, so I got it taken out today. Now for my weekly blood draws I'll just get poked, which isn't much of an issue for me because I have good veins and it's only once a week. And if I ever need transfusions, I can get them through an IV.

Overall, I've been feeling pretty good. Today was my 11th radiation session and I only have 3 more to go, then I'm done! Radiation was every weekday, but the actual treatment is only about 10-15 minutes. Most days I was in and out in about 35 minutes, just due to waiting until they were ready for me, changing into a hospital gown, and the actual treatment. As far as side effects go, I've been taking anti-nausea drugs since the beginning, so nausea hasn't been a problem. I have noticed that I'm getting more tired than usual. I'm overall more tired, and I get exhausted much more easily. Since all this has started I've rediscovered how nice naps are. I have been getting a sore throat which is because I'm getting full brain and spine radiation, and my throat catches some stray radiation. Other than those side effects, I've been doing pretty well. The hardest thing to deal with is the fatigue, and that'll probably continue to get worse for a little while after I finish radiation treatment. But in a few weeks I should start getting my energy back and start getting back into the swing of normal life.

So just to clarify: I have 3 more radiation treatments from this point, my last one will be on the 25th of May. That will mark the end of my treatment, and the only reason I'll have to go to the hospital after that is for check ups. I'm extremely happy that I'm almost done with all this, and I just have one thing to say: It's about time!

Saturday, May 1, 2010


I've been home for almost a month now and I'm feeling much better than I did when I left the hospital. I'm slowly getting my strength back. I've stopped using a walker to get around, I just walk regularly now, albeit pretty slowly. Here's a picture of me with my walker from a while ago, note my "skinny chicken legs":

Also, for the past week I've been able to make it up the stairs to get to my room, so I've been sleeping in my own room again (!!!). That's been pretty nice, and it's good exercise to have to go up or down the stairs.

In order to leave the hospital when I did I had to be able to continue taking a certain antibiotic that was only available as an IV fluid. Luckily there are ways to take IV fluids at home. This particular antibiotic came in a pressurized ball so all I had to do was attach it to my PICC line, unclamp it, and wait about an hour and a half for it to finish pushing the fluid into me.



It was a very strange thing, but I'm glad it exists, otherwise I would've had to stay in the hospital for a few more days to keep getting the antibiotic.

The only treatment I have left at this point is radiation, which will start on Wednesday. The radiation is outpatient at the Northwestern hospital downtown, which is nice because I don't have to stay in the hospital, but annoying because I have to go downtown everyday for a process that only takes about an hour. I'm going to have radiation every weekday for 2-3 weeks and then I'll be done with treatment and just have to focus on recovery. The radiation should be nowhere near as bad as the chemo, the biggest side effect is that it'll wipe me out and I'll be tired for a few weeks after I'm finished with the actual treatment. I'll keep the blog updated as I go through the actual treatment, and hopefully I can get some pictures of all the equipment.