I’m starting chemo / radiation treatment on Monday, June 4th, at 4:15 pm.
Well, technically I start Sunday night right before I go to bed, when I’m supposed to take a pill.
This pill is actually the chemo– it’s not the scary hellish treatment that most people think of when they hear the word “chemo,” where I’m hooked up to a machine that sucks out my life force like the Skeksis in The Dark Crystal. (Click on that link in case you want to get freaked out– that movie is so freaking awesomely creepy.)
The drug itself is called Temodar (Temozolomide, or Temodal if you’re from Hong Kong), and my doctors believe that I’ll tolerate it really well, without many (if any) side effects. I’m crossing my fingers that this is the case, unless those side effects include growing a plume of peacock feathers out of my coccyx, in which case bring it on.
So this is what they call the “Standard Treatment”– it’s pretty much what every GBM patient does after they have their brain surgery (GBM is the cool in-the-know term for glioblastoma multiforme, which is what I have.
The idea behind this chemotherapy / radiation combo buster treatment is to hit the remaining cancer cells in your brain (because there are always going to be some cancer cells remaining, no matter how ninja-like your surgeon is, and I’ve had two high level katana ninjas) as hard as possible. In other words, you do your surgery(s) to physically remove as much of the tumor as possible, then you blast the remaining cancer with radiation to weaken it, and simultaneously hit it with the chemo to try to kill it off.
So the Standard GBM Treatment Regimen consists of the following:
– Temodar chemo pills, once a day.
– 5 minutes of radiation, 5 days a week
– A vigorous regimen of jogs around Hancock Park and swims in the pool
This goes on for 6 weeks, so from now until sometime in the middle of July.
Once I’m done with that, I stop doing radiation forever. Then I shift over to a regimen where I take the chemo pills only a few days out of each month.
More on what happens down the road a bit later.