Radiotherapy uses high energy waves (X-rays) to treat cancer. It is a common treatment for brain tumours. Radiotherapy can be the main treatment if you have a brain tumour that your surgeon cannot remove, but in my case it is designed to try to lower the risk of the brain tumour coming back in the future.
It involves having a mask made that moulds to my face, upon which markers for the focusing of the x ray beams can be placed, so that they do not irradiate different bits of my brain every time I go.
I will have to go daily for six weeks, once the bone has healed after my surgery (about a month), but the treatment itself doesn’t take many minutes and I will feel nothing.
I am told I will feel tired, so whether I will be up to those shopping trips I was looking forward to in the city remains to be seen. Watch the blog page for up to date accounts. It also will affect my hair. I will have localised hair loss but it should grow back. sometimes grows back with a different texture or colour. I fancy red and curly.
Here a comprehensive account of how radiotherapy works.
and here is some information about radiotherapy masks, including a video about how they are made and used in treatment.
Chemotherapy Like, radiotherapy is likely to be used to try and prevent tumours coming back or in cases where they cannot be fully removed. It can be taken in the form of tablets, which I am told is most likely to be the case if I have to have it. whether I have it or not will be decided once Bob is looked at under the microscope, so, again, watch the blog for updates. I must confess I am not keen on the idea, but I wasn’t keep on the idea of getting a brain tumour either!
The chemotherapy used will be the current standard treatment for grade four glioma known as Temozolomide, which of course I find impossible to say at the moment! It is sometimes calles TMZ which i can manage.
the link will take you to a good article (wiki) about this.
Update: (Summer 2016)
Well that’s all done and dusted. With heathy diet, supplements, an absolute conviction that this was all going to work out just hunky-dory, and a stubborn intention to make the best of every day, looking upon the day as a day trip into the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside rather than a treatment session… I breezed though the treatment and enjoyed every minute. Yes, really! So, if you are facing this phase of treatments, don’t be daunted by the prospect. It is different for everyone, and I can’t guarantee that your ride will be as smooth as mine, but it is certainly possible. I truly believe that, with hope and expectation, it can be a good outcome and doesn’t have to be an ordeal, you too can get though this easily, even joyfully.
Update: ( 2017)
Ahh, distant memories of those intense days when treatment came thick and fast! Days were taken up by long journeys to the treatment centre, followed by treats and adventures. The most memorable (not necessarily the most elaborate) trips were having our ‘party’ in the Maggie’s centre to celebrate the end of treatment, and the visit to the ‘board game cafe “Thirsty Meeples” in Oxford. Lunches, parks, gardens, shopping trips, and just coffee shop hangouts all made chemo/radio pale into insignificance alongside the social event of the day. Such fun.
And now I am well, happy and fulfilled… and, most importantly, outliving my prognosis… with clear scans on no treatment (apart from my new changed lifestyle.)
That’s the way to do it! (-Mr Punch)
[If you want to know how I did it, scan through a series of blog entries between then and now and read the other pages that lay out my philosophy on life with a (terminall*) cancer diagnosis.]
Update May 2017 (HBOT)
Radiotherapy ‘scarring’ has been affecting my short term memory. Not drastic, but enough for me the feel the need to do something to halt it. The solution – hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). Working a treat! see my page on HBOT and blog entry here and another entry here.