Day 132: Our Decision to Start Chemotherapy

While I fell asleep fast and slept for more than 8 hours, beyond a few morning meetings, I was rather unproductive as I waited for us to leave for UCSF. I’m sure the sheeting rain didn’t help either.

We arrived at UCSF, starting off first with another MRI. Some people manage to go their entire lives without one. I have managed to have 5-6 of them in the last few months.  

The nice thing is that they’re getting to be fairly routine for me now so I don’t stress as much about them. What is always a bit crazy to me is how loud the scans are. After putting ear plugs in, putting a sheet around my ears, pulling a frame over my face and then stuffing pads between it and my face, the magnets still make a incredibly loud sound. 

Following the MRI we went upstairs to meet with our neuro-oncologist to discuss our decision. 

Today we decided to move forward with a one-year chemotherapy treatment that is scheduled to start on March 2nd. 

It will be an oral chemo treatment (Temodar, for those wondering) that I will take for 5 days in a row every month. I will also be taking an anti-nausea pill to counteract any potential side effects. 

The neuro-oncologist said that the most common side effects are fatigue, nausea and constipation but that most symptoms go away during the “off” weeks.  

Some patients experience a side effect such as fatigue during the 5 days they’re on the treatment while others may experience it for the last 3 days and then a few days into the first “off” week. It is different with every patient. 

We are hopeful that with being young, healthy and fit that I will be able to push through the chemo treatment with little side effects. 

I do not plan on taking any time off of work unless absolutely necessary. 

We will need to go to UCSF twice per month for blood work and have an MRI every 2-3 months to monitor everything within my body.  

We chose March 2nd as the planned date due to multiple upcoming work trips for me between January-February, a vacation in January and moving in early February. 

When we return to UCSF on March 2nd I will need to have another MRI and more blood work to use as baselines. 

Before we start the chemo treatment we will also need to meet with the UCSF fertility team to have sperm frozen because chemo can have an impact on fertility. 

Going on chemo, the potential side effects and getting poked every other week sucks but I am willing to do it for the next year if it means preventing any future growth of the tendrils of tumor that were left behind. 

Following the meeting with our neuro-oncologist we went downstairs to have blood work done that our neurologist had ordered on Monday.  

With the additional anti-seizure medication that I’m on I have to get ongoing blood work to check for the level of medication in my blood stream. 

When we left the hospital we called my in-laws so that they were the first to know our decision. Unfortunately it was while they were out to dinner celebrating their anniversary but we felt it necessary to tell them as soon as we could. After that we called my grandparents so they would know as well. 

Even though we are traveling into the unknown we feel like a weight has been lifted off of our shoulders now that we have communicated our decision.  

We are both mentally exhausted after a long few hours spent at the hospital. We’re now relaxing on the couch watching Netflix. 

I’m looking forward to either going for a run or running hills in the morning as a way to clear my head.