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.