Radiation and Chemo

Friday was our day to go back to Lacrosse.  Kayla and Kalissa were here to do childcare so I could go with Kramer.  Once we get the plans in place, I won’t be going every time.  For now, I need to go so I feel comfortable with him going without me AND I’m the caregiver here at home so I need to know what side affects to look for.

These appointments were set up before Kramer had the surgery.  The appointments were to see the radiologist and the oncology docs.

As we drove we were both thinking and dreading the upcoming portion of this cancer journey.  Kramer will be making the trips every day for chemo.  It’s an hour and 45 minutes drive time.  We always leave 2 hours before any appointment in case we need to a bathroom or fuel stop.  UGH…4 hours a day in a car.  Well…not doing it would be WAY worse than doing it….so here we go.

First radiology.  We had a cool doctor who like to illustrate as he talked.  Check out how he used the examination table.

Here’s the notes.This is what we took away from this appointment:
Radiation is a fine balance between keeping the healthy cells living and killing the bad ones.  The doctor feels pretty confident about Kramer’s case.  He states that he believes this is curable.

On the 15th we go back to the doctors.  Kramer will get a mapping for his radiation and a port for easy access for chemotherapy.

Then on the 25th chemotherapy and radiation start.  Radiation will be 33 treatment…every weekday for just over six weeks.

Next was the oncology doc.  He’s in charge of the chemo portion of the treatment.

Here we learned more about the types and lengths of chemotherapy Kramer would get.  He will be getting chemotherapy at the same time the radiation happens.  Monday will be chemo and radiation, the rest of the days only radiation.  Radiation days will be quick with only a half hour for the whole process.  Chemo days are longer.  It will be 3-4 hours for the chemo treatment only.  He is getting a low dose of chemo through the duration of radiation.  The nurse said that she expects that day 2 & 3 after treatment will be the days when Kramer feels the worst.

After radiation is finished he’ll get two larger doses of chemo.  He likely won’t lose his hair until then.  The doctor referred to this as clean up chemo.

There was no focus on this but we were also told that he might have to have chemo every other week for a year after that….we were told we’d see how that goes when the time comes.  If that’s so, we’re hoping that this could be done at one of the local hospitals.  Now, we are unable to make use of the local options as he needs radiation and radiation is not available locally.

There was a TON of information in each of the appointments.  A TON.  It seemed like a lot to take in but I’m sure by the time a few weeks go by, we’ll be old hats at this.  This is one of those things that we’ll learn WAY more about than we ever wanted to know.

Originally we were suppose to see the surgeon to but being he saw him on Tuesday, that appointment was cancelled.

It was kind of depressing news but we talked a lot on the way home.  It helped both of us.  We say this time and time again.  We are so blessed to have each other.  We are so blessed to be in a loving relationship.  We have no idea how people go through this with someone that they don’t love.

We arrived home to a house full of people.  Kalissa’s family was here.  Kelli and Georgia were here.  Kayla was here and two of my childcare families were here.  Everyone wanted to see the babies.

In the middle of all of this our Neighbor Girl and her mom came over.  Neighbor Girl’s older sister had a baby a day after Kelli had Georgia.  Things didn’t go well and the baby ended up getting sent to Lacrosse with breathing problems.  Mom wanted to get the older daughter to Lacrosse to see the baby and they wanted to know if it was okay if Neighbor Girl stayed with us over the weekend.  There are rules that don’t allow anyone under 18 to be in NICU so Neighbor Girl needed somewhere to hang out.  Of course we said, “Yes”….so I have a weekend of sewing, grocery shopping and cookie making ahead of me.  I’m so glad she likes some of the things that I like too.

So there’s a peek into our weekend and a peek into what treatment for Kramer will look like.  Kalissa has been busy trying to work on a volunteer driver schedule.  We’ve had a few people pick up days and that’s WONDERFUL!!

I’ll keep you posted on how things go…thanks for checking in with us.


35 thoughts on “Radiation and Chemo”

  1. Arrowhead Gramma

    Prayers for Hubby as he starts his treatments on the road to good health and that they will go well. I am in remission for 7 1/2 years now and know that God hears and answers our prayer. Stay strong!

  2. It is a long road. Been down this road. That everyday will be tiring. My suggestion is find a place to live closer for the 33 treatments. Borrow an RV, apartment, anything. If that’s not possible get friends to share in that driving schedule. 5 friends each take a day. Prayers for all of you.

  3. After those difficult appointments, it must have been so uplifting to come home to a house full of people that love you! I realize it’s not feasible for you temporarily move closer to the hospital (needing to continue your childcare business) but I wonder if you could stay closer to the hospital for those days 2-3 since they will be roughest? My church has what we call “the Hope House” which is a house adjacent to our church that has several bedrooms and a separate cottage. It is available for patients and family/caregivers of patients at nearby hospitals to stay free of charge. There is a kitchen stocked with food also at no charge. The only way anyone knows about it is through the hospital social worker. Maybe you could ask the social worker at your hospital if there is anything like this available in your area. Another thought is maybe you have a blog reader nearby that knows of a place close to the hospital where you could stay for days 2-3. Prayers for all of you, Jo.

  4. What a wonderful homecoming for you both! God will hear all of the prayers, and he will stay close for the weeks ahead. Peace

  5. Prayers for your family. Going down this road too, I just finished radiation which goes fast you are in and out in know time. We are blessed being only 15 minutes from our Cancer Center I will keep your family in our daily prayers. Your grandbabies are so precious, they keep us going., don’t they.

  6. Just a suggestion of keeping a notebook for after you talk to drs., appts., etc. Just to help everything straight.

  7. How wonderful to come home to a houseful of love. Someone suggested a notebook, great idea. My daughter used that method when my son in law went through this. Also, if possible ask family and friends to share in the drive. Even if it is one or two days., I am sure it would be helpful to Kramer and you.
    You might be surprised at the people who will step up.
    Sending my prayers and a big hug for you, this will be a long journey, but well worth it.

  8. Sending many prayers for your family. It speaks volumes about your morals and values that you are willing to help out another family in need while you are dealing with your own family struggles.

  9. A suggestion to help with those long car trips – do you listen to audible books? I always have an audible book on my phone, plug it in and listen to it whenever I am in the car. It makes the trip go by so fast, and it occupies your mind so you aren’t dwelling on other less pleasant thoughts. If you have a DVD player in your car, you can get books on DVD from your library. If the book is downloaded on your phone, your husband might be able to listen to it while receiving treatment. Just a thought.

  10. “It takes a village” The village has gathered around Kramer. God Bless you all, every visit, every drive, every driver, every day, everyone :-)

  11. Jo and Kramer-For some reason, your Facebook never came through my feed for 2 weeks while you were in LaCrosse. We were praying but I was thinking of all the things that might be happening. On Thurs. of this week it came through once again and I cried reading the many things you wrote about the very difficult times along with the joy of new life. Our offer for R and R for you and your family, whenever you need to rest and sleep and relax in a very quiet, private atmosphere is still available-anytime day and night. A quick call or email is all that’s needed.

  12. Christine VanHorn

    Sending prayers for all. It truly does take a village to ge through life. Lean on all of us. Dont be afraid to ask for help. We r all here for you. You and your families positive upbeat attitude will carry u through this journey. God bless u all.

  13. An addition to Sally’s suggestions- ask the hospital if they have “guest rooms”. I was totally unaware that some of the smaller hospitals here have a few rooms available to patients and family members to use at low or no cost in situations like yours. Didn’t know until I was talking to a Critical Care nurse l am friends with who got snowed in at her hospital and was able to use one of the rooms for herself in order to get sleep between shifts.

  14. Bonnie Tucker

    My prayers are with you. Check with your hospital they should have housing available with little to no cost. Since you have such a long drive. After your husband gets his treatment he won’t be able make that drive. Even though he was told his treatment would only be half an hour things happen. I am just finishing a year and a half journey with my sister (stem cell replacement). The care giver gets tired also. This is long stressful journey you and your husband both will need care and tending.

  15. Thinking and praying for you. I know how chemo can effect you. You have nurses in your family who can help support and interpret for you. I had my mom and sister. I hope hubby has someone to drive him. Chemo is rough and the effects get cumulative over time. Praying!

  16. The doctor sounds compassionate, drawing it out to explain is so helpful.
    Wish I lived closer to help you out but my prayers are with you always

  17. I can’t help but think about how it is that I know way more about what is happening with Kramer and his cancer than I know about what is going on with my own sister. She has had cancer for 6 years and in those 6 years we have had maybe 6 conversations. Maybe. It’s wonderful that you both recognize how blessed you are in your relationship. And of course, congratulations on beautiful Georgia Grace. Now you have to get going on that girl quilt lol.

    1. Oh Carla…That has to be hard. For some it’s hard to ask for help. I was that way with my diagnosis….with his, I know we can’t do it alone. I’ve found it’s easier to accept gift cards than cash. It’s easier when someone just “does it” rather than ask. Maybe a gift card and just “doing it” will open some doors.

  18. This journey will be easier for you both because of the love you share, keeping you both in my prayers. Keeping a notebook of those medical appts makes it so much easier, ask me how I know.

  19. Its good to keep busy and you certainly are doing that. Having just completed radiation I know what lies ahead for you. Normally, I would have gone to a clinic that is 5 minutes down the road but they were rehabbing the machine and I had to drive 40 min to another clinic for 19 visits. This is nothing compared to what you have ahead of you but I know you will do it with a smile and strong faith! A friend recently had breast cancer and she chose to be treated at a hospital far away. She ended up staying there for the duration. Maybe a few nights away might be in store for you. At any rate, you have a lot of folks praying for you and your family. Hugs

  20. And the roller coaster begins. As others, I am a cancer surviver. Each person deals with this diagnosis and treatment in their own way. Hold on to your family , friends and faith and go with the flow. One thing I didn’t do is ask for help and I should have. Anything you need, there are people around that will be willing to give it to you if you ask. Something I should have done. Positive thoughts to you and your family.

  21. Wishing you all strength and courage to carry you on this journey. It sounds like your medical team is very patient friendly. I like that! Hugs!!!

  22. Sending all the good wishes and prayers your way!
    Was trying to find ways to help and am clicking on every ad on your blog – and will keep Amazon purchases thru your blog in mind (as you had listed in an old blog post about ads). If there’s anything else we can do to help thru your blog, please let us know!

  23. Thank you fro another heartfelt update. Love your positive attitude and the love you share. Prayers will continue for grace and peace for one day at a time, especially for those times when it gets difficult and things seem overwhelming.

  24. That had to be a disheartening visit to see what was coming down the road. All I could think about was hoping that your community steps up in a big way, having someone drive Kramer back and forth during treatment. Your family has volunteered in the community for so long so hoping that it all comes back. Checking to see if there are places he can stay near the hospital would be ideal and contacting the social worker at the hospital is a great idea. As he gets into treatment I’m thinking his immune system will be down and being home with the childcare kids could be a threat for him. As I type all this I’m thinking that you have thought of all these things and have come up with the best plan that works. Your family is so strong so I know you will get through this! My continued prayers for you both!

  25. I think of your family often and say a prayer for you when I do. I always say we are fortunate to live in such a time where medical advancements have saved so many people. Your doctor has given your family much hope and encouragement. It is a hard time but you will make it through to the other side with the love and help of family and friends.

  26. May Kramer’s treatments go smoothly. Treatment affects people differently. Just going by my mother’s experience, he may be able to go to treatment by himself, depending on how chemo affects him but may not be able to drive himself home. My mom would already be so sick on the way back from Omaha and no way could she have driven herself. Radiation can be very tough & tiring on a person too. Especially a ways into the course of treatment. I’d glad people have already volunteered to help out with driving and that Kalissa was already working on a schedule. Just another thought as well….little kids are germ factories and Kramer’s immune system will be compromised by the chemo & radiation. Being around them might not work out. Best to be forewarned. Wishing Kramer, you and your whole family the best during the tough days ahead.

  27. Darling Jo, you can tell by all the comments how people feel about you and your family. You are so honest and down to earth I am sure we all feel part of your family with the way you keep us informed with what is going on in your life. Prayers for you all. You deserve a medal for your kindness to all around you.

    Love to you.

  28. Jo, reading all these comments, I agree, chemo & radiation are going to be harder than you think, especially with such a long drive every day. We had a couple of days places associated with our Cancer Centre where people could stay during the week & go home on the weekends that lived more than one hour away. Check with the Social Worker or the Nurses at the hospital about this. Yes, Roger may not begin to feel unwell until day 3-4, but you will be the driver. Medication for nausea will be needed & is is expensive but works excellent. His immune system will be lowered by the chemo & radiation. He will be more & more tired each week. I don’t want to sound harsh, but this is going to be the reality. My dad went through it & my mom found it hard. They lived one hour from the hospital. I’m a retired Oncology nurse. It’s a tough road, but can be done like someone said with a village and a lot of sacrifice. Lot’s of prayers & helping hands. Childcare may have to take a hiatus Jo, it might be too much. Roger will have to come first in this one. Love you all.

  29. I’m wondering if there is a hotel near the hospital where you could stay so you don’t have to drive every day. Maybe those suite hotels made for long term stays.

  30. Thank you for sharing your journey so we can all walk with you.
    During my traumas…I realized that life in 6 months can look totally different.
    So I try to stay in the day…Love sent from North Carolina

  31. Linda Zakrzewski

    Kramer and Kramer, take it one step at a time. Sometimes adjustments have be made to what you have planned out. We too had a an hour and twenty minutes to our hospital treatments. Often longer going through morning traffic. Complications did arise but we dealt with it when it happened. We tended to find humor with the hair loss. Although my husband did not have a beard. Depend on your family for support. It also seems that you have a community behind. This is a great value. My thoughts and prayers are with you knowing what your going through.

  32. God bless you both in the weeks ahead! You are a saint with all that you have on your plate to have room in your home and heart for one more child if just for the weekend. Praying for strength and healing for Kramer.

  33. Jo, I feel like such a terrible Mom and Grandmother with my complaining about my not having my normal quiet time sewing and just general relaxation time for several days when you have so many many trips to and from doctor visits and still keeping all your child care kiddos, and taking care of Kramer along with greeting and getting to know your 2 newest grandbabies. You truly are a Godsend to everyone in your family. You are an inspiration to me and I am learning from you. Thank you for your blog and teaching me to be grateful for what I have and to not be selfish about the time I don’t have. Continued Prayers for Kramer and yourself as well!

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