Thursday, January 31, 2008

Home from first treatment

Steve is resting now after an eventful day.

After getting Cooper to school and Katie to preschool, we headed south to the cancer center. The imaging folks took care of him first, taking more MR images of his brain. The images showed some growth since the last UT-SW scan -- not surprising, as recent M.D. Anderson scans also had indicated growth.

Then we met with the radiation oncology resident (Dr. G) and her supervising doctor (Dr. A). While the formal plan for his radiation therapy isn't complete (they needed a recent MRI), they weren't comfortable with waiting any longer to begin treatment. So today they started him on radiation therapy based on 2-D mapping (instead of 3-D mapping). From what we understand, they are aiming for a conservative target now and will get closer to exactly what they're aiming for sometime next week, when the formal plan is ready.

While we were in the exam room, Steve's co-workers Lori, Ray and Wendy popped in to check on Steve. They were just in time to whisk us away for lunch, giving the doctors time to map out the temporary radiation plan.

After lunch, we returned to the cancer center, where Steve received his first treatment. He reports that it was quick and painless. The treatment continues now for about six weeks, every weekday. (He won't start taking the oral chemotherapy until Monday.)

Steve's voice problems apparently are caused by damage to the 10th cranial nerve, which is one of the most crucial of the cranial nerves. It serves the throat, larynx, trachea, lungs, heart, esophagus and most of the intestinal tract. He's lost most of his gag reflex and is at a high risk of asphyxiation. He may begin to have trouble swallowing thin liquids (apparently without warning), including water and juice. So we're using a product called Thick-It that thickens liquids without adding taste.

Thank you, Zita, for taking care of Katie after school, and Christie, for taking care of Cooper. We also appreciate all the good wishes for today and the many who have volunteered to help now or in the future.


Anonymous said...

Tyra and Steve,

Know it has been a long day and we are continuing to pray for you. I wanted to suggest a product called Simply thick. It seems to hold its consistency over time without thickening too much. The website is and I have requested some samples. You can buy at Target or CVS but cheaper on-line. If you need any swallowing help,let me know.



Anonymous said...

Hello Tyra and Steve,

I'm glad the treatment went well today. I'm sure someone has already said it,but, "Out, Damm Spot"! I'm very impressed that you've kept your literary wit.


Tara said...

I watned to let you know that I have been following your story. I recently joined family manager and got the request for prayer. I check your blog everyday.
My mother had a glioblastoma in 2004. The stories are so similar.
Please know that I am praying for you daily that God would give you His peace.
Felda, Florida

Chitnis and Chahal said...

Steve, I can't believe so much happened since I last spoke to you just in early am. I recognized your voice had changed from before. Glad you had your first treatment and was uneventful. I can't imagine how Tyra writes such beautiful things and as a matter of fact reporting of the situation.
I hope they can anihilate the heck out of those rogue cells as Trya calls them. Keep up the sense of humor, and we keep sending good wishes and prayers your way.
God bless.

Michael in D.C. said...

First treatment down and done. Yes, there are many more to come, but Steve, we know you're a fighter. Hang in there. Your cheering section only gets bigger, louder and more supportive of you as time goes on.

We love you.

Lisa Bowman said...

Steve and Tyra,

My thoughts and prayers are with you. Keep up the fight.

Lisa Bowman
(Steve's high school friend)

chapman.d said...

Steve and Tyra, I thank God for you every day. You are such a blessing to me.

Anonymous said...

Steve and Tyra

I have been following your journey for several weeks. Throughout your dreadful experience the love and support you have found among friends and strangers is a real testament to the two of you, and an encouraging sign of true humanity still strong in this uncertain world.

There are probably many more people out there who have not written, but are deeply touched, and who hold you in their thoughts and prayers.

thinking positive thoughts and sending my love....

Edie (Stull) Allen