The length and type of radiation my mom will do continues to change. She met with the doctor yesterday during her treatment. The doctor examined her skin, took awhile to think about her recommendations, and then told mom that she needs to do one more at this strenght and then three scans over the entire area at a lower strength. Then she will be done...four more total. Mom told the doctor she is willing to do the eight additional at the full strength that she had initially recommended but the doctor told her that at this point, her skin is so burned and if they push it any more, that she could have damage to her muscles that would affect her long term arm use. The whole treatment process is such a balance. How can we give the most treatment to treat and prevent the return of cancer while doing the least long term damage as possible? My mom has been doing some form of treatment for the last seven months and the doctor feels that her body is at the maximum that it will tolerate. So three days after today, my mom will go in for her last treatment. She will meet with the cancer doctor in several days to find out what the next step is as far as continued monitoring.
This year on Thanksgiving, I was thanful for those I had around my table, especially my mother. It was wonderful to see her getting back to "normal." She was able to stay for a couple nights. She even had the energy to participate in the annual tradition of getting up way too early and going shopping on Black Friday with my mother-in-law. She was out for most the morning. I am also thankful for her good humor. My mother has a small amount of hair growing back in. Of course, there is just enough to see some color. My daughter has always seen my mother will all dark hair (um...with help from a professional) or with no hair. As three year-olds will, she remarked most honestly about the new hair "Grammy you have panda hair!" I guess you cannot get grey hair past a child. Many may be offended, but my mother thought is was hillarious and told Addison to come tell the family about her hair. I am thankful to have that kind of mom.
As far as treatments go, she is still doing radiation. Last week, she expected to have her last regular radiation session and would be starting booster sessions this week. Her doctor said after examining her that her skin is still in very good shape and, therefore, they would like to do eight more radiation sessions and then decide what boosters need to be done. They made this decision because the type of cancer (inflammatory) is a much more aggressive type and they feel that if she is able to tolerate more treatments they would like to do them. The doctor said they would hate to regret not being more aggressive while they have an opportunity. I know that she was hoping to be done with treatment by Christmas and with the extra sessions, this will likely not be the case. Mom is in good spirits about it and said she is willing to do whatever necessary to prevent the cancer from returning. Either way, we are looking at her being done with radiation by the end of this month.