Jones Family

Jones Family
November 2009

Monday, January 4, 2010

Radiation Graduation Day

I had such good intentions of posting this before now. Looking back over these pictures brought back such a surge of emotions. I suddenly realized even our family has yet to see these. I hope it helps explain what Brayden has endured.

As part of Brayden's High-Risk treatment protocol (based on a study) he was to have 8 fragments of Radiation treatment. This was due to the time of diagnosis, his spinal fluid was showing with Level 2 of Leukemia cells present in his brain. We had been dreading this part of his treatment. The side effects are too numerous to mention. The main one being the likelihood of developing secondary cancers. It's so gut-wrenching as a parent and we're thankful for a wise Oncologist and his guidance to help lead us in the path of keeping Brayden the most safe and preserving his health. This wasn't optional for his treatment. In fact, this was the best chance he has of ensuring the Leukemia cells don't hide and come back later in his brain, as used to be the case 20+ years ago when the survival rate for ALL Leukemia was so much lower. Thank goodness for all the research. It's hard however to be thankful for Radiation. Nevertheless, we pressed on.

I've already posted several details in December about Radiation in general. We were so thankful Brayden didn't suffer a lot of the immediate sickness that could have been present. He did well. There certainly were side effects and those haven't dimished yet in the two weeks that have followed. Here are some more details and pictures for you from his treatments December 9-18:

This was the room as it looked when he walked in. They had a place for him where his mask was kept each day. The first time we saw that 6 inch thick door and this room it was a bit overwhelming. Brayden asked many questions. He thought the tv's were so cool! It had his information on them and he thought that was neat. He liked the beautiful picture on the ceiling and I reassured him about the camera on the wall in front of the table that showed him to me while I waited on the other side of the door. He chose to have music playing the last few days of treatment. He was sure to ask the Treatment Team lots of questions about all the machines and they were so patient to explain everything to him to help make him more comfortable.

Each day the nurses would have their masks on so that he could take his off when he came into the room since he was Neutropenic all during treatment. He was glad he didn't have to change into a gown. The table he had to lay on was SO uncomfortable. They had a neck piece sized for him that was ready for him each day we came in. They would also place a lumbar support under his knees and velcro his feet together. He insisted on keeping his shoes on. All of this was in an effort to minimize any movement. I gave him a tip to put his hands under his hips so he would have a place for them. In an effort to be perfectly still, his arms seemed to not know exactly where to go so that seemed to help.

These lasers had to line up with the exact places on his mask. The treatment teams did x-rays twice to confirm the Radiation was being concentrated on the exact right places in his brain.

This is a close-up of Brayden's mask he was eager to show. Once it was made the first day, it held the exact shape of his face, nose, chin. The team had to ensure the placement was exact and precise before it would snap into the table to confine him in place and not allow any movement.

Saying goodbye right before Radiation started once he was all in place. The team would slide his table into position. After we left, everything was controlled by the team on computers. I was amazed at everything they watch on 3 different screens. Then the big machine would rotate. You could hear the clicking sound the Radiation would make coming out of the machine. Then it would rotate again completely to the other side to treat the other side of his brain.

Each day he was complete with another treatment day down, his sweet team had this calendar made up for him and waiting with stickers. It was such a great visual to see how far he was coming and how soon he'd be done. SO THOUGHTFUL!

This sweet smile is what greeted me after his team came in and unsecured everything from the table. He was known to say "Get this thing off!" He was SO happy to finally be done and not have to come back again.

Placing his final sticker was such a tangible way of being finally done!

These sweet girls made his day! I remember the first day him telling me how cute the girlies were!! Sweet Jennifer & Tara were so vibrant and eager to visit with him and help make him more comfortable. He loved chatting it up with them.

His Treatment Team presented him with his Diploma on Friday, December 18th. Along with Jennifer & Tara again is Michael. I was so reassured with their expertise of Brayden and so thankful for the wonderful care they gave him. They seemed to go the extra mile and we are so thankful for them!

1 comment:

  1. I love the pictures! Thanks for taking us on this journey visually.