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Walking With the Bakers

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Of Radiation & Chemo Therapy – Look at the Blessings!

Written by Roger Baker.

Well, if you’ve never done radiation therapy plus chemotherapy, I can share a little detail with you: it ain’t pretty, and it ain’t something most dual-channel patients share with their friends. But I have the perfect excuse (brain cancer) and so I will give you some details.

Both therapies have specific targets (both between my ears) but they do this through two different methods.

My weekdays start with radiation therapy. You are restricted to a certain amount of radiation therapy depending on the dosage of radiation and the amount of time. In four weeks I will be done for life. The sad part is that this part of therapy I rather enjoy, other than the three hours of time it takes out of my weekdays (2 are travel, only 20 minutes for all the treatment.) The operators of the radiation machine depend on the team you work best with. I got blessed on this one. Two wonderful ladies take me in, help me lie down, cover me with a blanket from the church, and joke with me. It is wonderful, and I am not certain the is a man my age who wouldn’t rather enjoy the treatment (at least that part.) A nice part of this is that they have music playing, and as I am rolled in & out of the big radiation machine, I’m enjoying the music and nearly dozing. The bad part is that next week the hair on my head falls out and that I am getting a head-up tan. Will shave the head again if it starts to get me notably bald on top.

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My Head Examined (Has X-Rays, Be Warned!)

Written by Roger Baker.

Okay, fair warning: The pictures below are mine. Yes, these are the photos of the growth I had in the head on the left-side of the brain. If you're grossed-out, sorry, I tried to give you sufficient warning. Close the browser window and shake it off. :)

Left photo: From the front, bigger than an eye, it is entirely the area behind the eye. This area is entirely in the language part of the brain, yet nonetheless I can still speak. Apparently most brain parts are duplicated to some degree. The right side of the brain in the image is my left-hand side. Vision in my left eye has improved a touch.

Right photo: From the side. Brain growth that is clearly visible is appearing golf-ball sized an perhaps doughnut shaped (both aren't quite right.) It's enough to effect a lot of systems, and very central. Hits auditory association, a problem I have had for a few months, and was really problematic following surgery. (Click for the article with photos.)

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A "For Real" Scorecard of My Health

Written by Roger Baker.

Okay, as long as we're being direct, I'll tell you about my health issues and the associated details. Things shifted big-time during the last six months. Here's the huge, big, dramatic (okay, boring) story.

In October2011, we were pretty certain that multiple sclerosis was my big, number one health issue. Reasonable, really, because MS effects so many systems and effects people in different ways. But then I started having some spots in front of my eyes. Not unusual, it has happened before, but this time the spots in both eyes are coming close to overlapping, causing the potential for blindness is certain areas of vision. Off to the ophthalmologist.

This is issue number two. I am losing some of the eyesight I value (bet you do, too!) I am losing vision in my eyes, very slowly, thanks to the weakening of the macula (that's the receptive part of the eye that does the actual "seeing". I have lost some eyesight before due to this, but I can still see well enough to drive (well, in the daytime.) But the last MS session required a good-sized dosage of medicine which we knew would then hit my eyes hard in the macula. Result? Macula degeneration increased. Ouch. The good news is that surgery has about a 50% chance of fixing this, so when I get to the point that legal blindness is becoming an option for my vision, we'll go to the operating room. In the meantime, I get checked by the doctor every six weeks to see how I am doing. Really, who could make this up? I started getting regular checks in November 2011, I will get checked again very soon to decide whether we should try surgery.