Saturday, December 28, 2013

the Dentist and  Dr. visit


The doctors checked his lab reports and Dave only needs to do the 6 weeks of radiation and not chemo too. Amen!
the tests confirmed what the other lab results had shown but this is a big relief for us
we are prepared to do whatever it takes to beat this but this is good news
God is good!

Dave had his last dentist appointment this week
they fixed a few more teeth to make his teeth strong and they made up the custom mouth guards that he needs for his radiation treatment
the dentist and his staff are so nice but Dave is really glad he is done with his dental work

on Thursday Dave had his simulation appointment with the radiation doctors in Green Bay
this is the final appointment before his radiation starts when they get everything ready
it took about 2 hours and they made a mesh mask that he will need to wear for the treatments and he had another CT scan and more blood tests
hopefully I can get pictures but here is one we found on the internet that shows the type of mask they made for him that he will wear for the treatments:
Dave said it didn't hurt but wearing the mask was really weird feeling especially when they were molding it to his face and head
thank you to our good friend Jason who went along to keep Dave company 

Dave sent an email to his family about it and explains it better than I can:

I spent a few hours at the radiation dept at the hospital on Thursday. They fitted me with the mask I will wear for the treatments. Quite a bizarre experience. They heat the mask mold and then place it on my face covering my head all the way down to my chest. Then as I lay there, 3-4 people push the mold down all over my head, face, & neck to make the mold fit specific to my face & body. They bolted the entire mask to the  table so I was completely immobilized. Very strange feeling. It was a mesh material so I could breathe through it, but I could not see too well and breathing was tough wearing the mouth guards. I am not claustrophobic but if I was, it would not be a very bad experience! I imagine if someone does have problems with it that they would use sedation. It was tough to do. I know that sounds strange but it was tough. Especially when they bolted the mask to the table completely holding me down. Everyone involved was really nice and I appreciated how they talked to me through the entire process to make sure I was OK and to let me know everything that was being done. That helped a lot. Quite impressed with their patient care.

After about 10 minutes, they took it off, let me get settled and then they put it back on for another 20 + minutes while they ran me through CT scans and simulated the radiation treatments. I got through it OK but was very glad when they took it off and sat me up. Before that happened, once they got everything lined up perfectly (which is key to getting the radiation done right!) they put marks on the mask and put some tattoos on my chest and both side of my ribs. They use these to match up with the laser guides on the radiation machine to make sure the same spots are being hit each time I have the treatment. The tattoos are small but they denied my request for a 49er logo, “Cancer Sucks” in Chinese, and “This side up” with an arrow. All they put on were some small slash marks and a dot. No fun.

I had no idea how much time and planning goes into the radiation treatments. The docs said they need at least 10 days to plan the computer program and overlap the mapping system of the CT scans with the PET scans to make sure everything is lined up proper. I was quite impressed with their efficiency and again their patient care was awesome.

I had a tough time waiting as the treatment area was quite depressing. I sat in the waiting area with other cancer patients. Not out in the general public area, we get moved to a “special waiting area” which is nice as we would depress the hell out of anyone if they put us out with the general public. It was tough to see all these people who all have different cancers come and go. Admittedly I had a few rough moments off and on during this appointment. I looked around and thought “What am I doing here?” then I remembered “Oh, that’s right…I have cancer too.” Tough run for awhile but I got through it OK with prayer and breathing techniques.
Dave is feeling better too
his jaw is still sore and his neck too but he is much better
the nerves in his neck are still acting up
the right side of his face is really sensitive especially to cold so he wears ear muffs even if he is outside for just a little bit of time
if he talks too long or laughs too hard he gets a little droop on his left side and sometimes bites his lip from it
the doctors said the nerves could take up to a year to return to normal
it is nice to see him eating solid foods again but he still has a little trouble swallowing
Dave has worked most of the week and plans to work all of next week before radiation starts
please continue to pray for us and for Dave
On another note...
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas
we were so blessed
pictures and more on Christmas to follow
right now we have this going on

lots of stuffy noses and coughing 
praying for healthiness
thank you all for your continued prayers