Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Update on Blaine: As of today, he has finished half (eight) of his sixteen total radiation treatments. We’ve been lucky and have found some people online who are willing to share their experiences with us, but it’s still a little frustrating because everyone we have “met” has had traditional x-ray radiation, whereas Blaine is having neutron beam radiation, and comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges. But at least it’s good to have *something* to go by. We know the side effects he is experiencing at this point in treatment are most likely all normal, although to be honest, they are starting to get a little rough.

The specialized location of the radiation zaps the salivary glands, reducing them to non-functioning. Imagine the dry mouth from the worst hangover of your life, and then multiply it by ten. THEN add another zero, and try to go through each day, sleep through the night, or eat anything in that condition. The term “I don’t even have enough spit to swallow” has taken on a whole new meaning for the poor guy. Luckily, since Blaine is only getting radiation on one side of his head, the doctors are hopeful that he will regain salivary function on the other side at some point in the future. Besides the convenience function, did you know saliva contains enzymes that keep your teeth healthy? That’s why so many head & neck radiation patients wind up losing their teeth afterwards. So we’re extra hopeful one side begins working again. In the meantime, they’ve got him on a special medication to promote gland function, and he’s drinking like there’s no tomorrow. (Well, I guess technically if you were drinking like there was no tomorrow, you’d be downing the gin and tonics …. And he’s guzzling milk and water. But you get my drift.) In fact, his comment to me was, “Now I understand why you complain when you’re pregnant about getting up to use the restroom four and five times each night.”

He’s having some nausea, which they are giving him Zofran to combat. (Hey, he and Kendrie will have something else in common!)

The worst side effect so far, though, are the burns in his mouth, throat and nose. The sunburn on the outside, he says, is nothing compared to the burns on the inside …. pretty much par for the course with radiation, from what we’ve heard and read. He says it hurts to talk, eat anything with any kind of spice or acid in it (and did you know that even a nutritional beverage like Boost has salt and acid in it? Blaine found that out the hard way) and it’s difficult to sleep, so he’s up a lot at night, which makes him fatigued during the day …. Vicious cycle.

As I understand it, after these sixteen treatments, he will have received his lifetime maximum dose of radiation and it will no longer be an option for further treatment, if it’s necessary. We won’t know for four months, the time of his next set of scans, whether or not this worked, or how well. Now I understand a little better the frustration of waiting for scans that all the parents of kids with medulloblastoma, neuroblastoma, etc, must feel. On the one hand, I can’t wait for the scans so Blaine can get the “all clear”. On the other hand, I’m nervous for him to get the scans because what if this didn’t work? Look up ambivalence in the dictionary, and you’ll find the photo of a cancer patient in just this situation, I imagine.

But the good news is that all of these side effects should be temporary, and at least for now, he is still able to eat. Avoiding a feeding tube is one of his top priorities. That, and dating a supermodel sometime in his life.

He asked me to tell all of you that he appreciates the good thoughts and prayers. He’s checking this site from the computer at the hotel and sees the kind notes in the guestbook ---- so thank you for the support! I’ll keep you posted as more happens.

Update on Kristie: Fat. Waddly. Excited it’s almost over. Sad it’s almost over. My mom is flying in today and of course the kids are ecstatic to see Grandma again. The baby’s parents are flying in tomorrow; final doctor’s appointment on Thursday; and we’ll be induced sometime Friday. Out of respect for the family’s privacy, I won’t post a lot of details, but I will let everyone know how things have gone as soon as I get home from the hospital. Hopefully that will be Saturday; Sunday at the latest, because I am leaving on Monday to fly to Seattle and join Blaine. And hey! If taking a post-partum cross-country flight to help my radiated husband through his final treatments doesn’t just scream FUN, then I don’t know what does!! But I also appreciate the kind comments and warm thoughts.

So, on to my Tuesday ramblings:

Most Bizarre Moment this Week: I went into a public restroom in the mall yesterday and thought the room was empty, except for perhaps the far stall whose door was closed. I sat down, minding my own business, and then heard, “Hello?” I sat quietly …. Were they talking to me? Again, “Hello?” so I tentatively responded, “um, hello?” Then I heard, “Who’s that?” Again, hesitantly, I replied, “its Kristie” All I could think was maybe this lady needed toilet paper or something ….. Then I heard, “What did you say?” and I realized she wasn’t talking to me, she was talking on a cell phone! Who **does** that? Who goes into a public restroom stall and sits on the toilet to make a phone call? Am I the only one who thinks that is bizarre? Plus I felt like an idiot for answering her.

Moment this Week When I Most Questioned My Own Taste: I went into Kirklands yesterday to buy some home decorations I had been admiring …. Three metal-brass-something-ish stars to hang in the entryway. I was standing back, admiring my good taste while the cashier rang them up, and the lady in line behind me said, “Those are neat … are you having a Western Party?” For the second time that day, I wondered, “Is she talking to me?” so I turned around and sure enough, she was looking at my stars. A Western Party? What do stars have to do with a Western Party? Does my entryway now look like the hallway of the Ponderosa????? Will I be startled if Little Joe himself sits down in the living room and watches tv with us later???

Most Nostalgic Moment this Week: I was browsing through the music store at the mall and for whatever reason wound up in the “S” section, and I spied, with my little eye, a copy of one of my favorite cd’s from long ago (of course, back then it was a cassette) Survivor’s Vital Signs. Oh, how I used to love that cd. I immediately bought it and have been playing it non-stop ever since. I'd put a song from it on the site, but it's late and I'm just too lazy. But I have been digging it the past few days.

Most Cringe-Worthy Moment this Week: OHMYGAWD!!! I just remembered that the period in my life when I listened to this album was right after my freshman-year-of-college boyfriend dumped me and broke my heart! Worse, I took all the sappy love songs off the cassette and MADE HIM A COPY AND MAILED IT TO HIM! WITH A LETTER TO TELL HIM I WOULD PINE AWAY FOR HIM FOREVER!!! OH DEAR HEAVENS THE MORTIFICATION THAT I WAS EVER SUCH A DORK AND DID SOMETHING SO INCREDIBLY HUMILIATING!!! I AM SO EMBARRASSED JUST REMEMBERING WHAT I DID THAT I MUST TELL YOU ALL NOW AND SHOUT ABOUT IT IN ALL CAPS!!! (Dear Lord, please let a tornado have hit his house and while not causing any real damage or injuring anyone, please have let the tornado suck away that tape and humiliating letter because I would just die if I thought it still existed in print.)

Most Are You Kidding Me? Moment this Week: I was getting my nails done (I know! I can’t bear the thought of a massage or anyone touching me, in any way. Ever. Yet I get my nails done. Believe me, sitting there for half an hour while someone else holds my hands is about all I can handle and even then, some days I want to just jerk my hands away, but that would be rude, so I don’t.) and the tv was on in the salon, turned to The Bold and The Beautiful soap opera. Did you know that Mario Lopez, that kid from Saved By The Bell, is now playing a doctor on that soap opera???? I mean, come on. The Saved by the Bell kids as serious actors?? First you had Tiffani Amber Thiessen on Beverly Hills 90210, then Elizabeth Berkley in that God-Awful Showgirls. Now I’m supposed to believe Slater is some kind of neurosurgeon? What’s next? Screech as Othello???

Most “Well, *that* was awkward” Moment this Week: I dropped my cell phone in the Kroger parking lot and it bounced under the car next to mine, right about the middle of the trunk, a good two or three feet inside from every edge. I can barely squat down at this point in the pregnancy, let alone bend over and pick up a cell phone from underneath a car. So I had to stand there until some lady pulled up on the other side, and then ask her if she would mind getting my cell phone for me. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but from the look she gave me, you just know she thought I was either panhandling, or about to give her a Jesus pamphlet right there. Really, I don’t think being connected in the digital age is worth it. Especially with reception as spotty as mine is.

Most Proud Moment this Week:

Was it when Kellen got up to bat and hit a home run in last night’s game? (Never mind that he was the first batter at bat and no-one else was on base ….. one run is better than none, right?)

When Kellen perfectly fielded the ground ball that came his way? (Holy crap, is that tongue hanging out of his mouth? Here we go again………..)

When Kellen easily beat the runner to first base after fielding said ball?

When Kellen ran up and caught a fly ball with the greatest of ease??

No, it was the moment AFTER Kellen caught that fly ball, and I was sitting in my chair, pumping my arm in the air, doing the WOOT-WOOT yell like Julia Roberts did in Pretty Woman, when suddenly, I saw a stray ball out of the corner of my eye, headed right for my head. It happens occasionally, with the ball fields so close together. Although I was a little offended that no one bothered to yell “Heads Up!” as a warning, I managed to flinch, duck, jerk my body around, almost overturn myself in my chair, and escape just in the nick of time …. Only to realize ….. to my horror ….. that the white round thing I saw headed towards my head was not actually a Ball, but the flab from my upper arms gyrating around while I was making the appropriate arm gestures to go with the WOOT-WOOT cheer.

There was no real way to explain what had just happened to the parents around me who were clearly startled by my sudden chair-calisthenics, so I played it off with a loud comment about “A bee! I thought I saw a bee!” and then tried to act for the rest of the game like nothing happened. How embarrassing.

So, are you waiting for a clever remark to tie all my random thoughts together here at the end? Because I can’t think of one. Which pretty much sums up the word random. The End. :)

No comments: