Starting next week, Tony will have 6 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy simultaneously. That will be followed by 2-3 months of chemotherapy. Treatment will include daily radiation Monday through Friday. The chemotherapy consists of pills taken orally, and side effects are very minimal compared to what other chemo treatments cause. The doctor expects him to feel tired, but not sick.
We talked to three doctors today, and all three said that his tumor is a text-book one with a standard treatment protocol set down by national standards. We asked if we should be going to a major cancer center; they said we could but the treatment would be the same. We asked about equipment differences, and Fayetteville has the exact same radiation equipment as would be used at a major center. In short, the cancer center in Fayetteville appears to be equal to the major centers for this kind of tumor. If we had a more difficult one, they would recommend a major center.
Tony is very comfortable with the staff and the setting, and he is excited to get started. He has met two people there who have gone through the same thing. One had it at age 7 and he is now 20 with no recurrence. One had it at 20 and is now in his mid 40's with no recurrence. The doctor's really believe this can be treated and put down for a very long time. Monitoring will probably require semi-annual CT scans for life to catch it early if it does come back.
He will have to stay in Fayetteville throughout radiation treatments and then 4 weeks after that, but should be able to come back to Alaska the first of May in time for his sister's graduation. His Dad and sister plan trips to come see him. There are some furnished apartments behind the hospital, and I think the cancer center has a deal with them. He will probably stay there with his Mom.
The doctor approved and encouraged him to start getting exercise and back to a more normal life. He just isn't supposed to really exert himself. Disc golf (frisbee golf by an old name) is approved. Pushups and stationary bikes are approved. The key is to avoid (1) heavy exertion, and (2) jarring of the brain. That does rule out tennis, running, jogging, basketball, football, bike riding, etc. He can even drive unless he gets sluggish from the treatments.
Once again...really good news considering the situation.