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Starting Week Five

Dear Friends,
 
Four weeks of radiation + chemo are done, with only two weeks to go. The finish line for phase one of treatment is in sight – three cheers for that.
 
Here’s what I’ve been going through for the radiation, which I get 5 days a week. The medical team puts a custom-molded plastic helmet (see photo) over my head and snaps it (and me) in place on a stretcher, and then a linear accelerator slowly rotates around my head for 5 minutes or so, sending radiation is a pre-set pattern at the tumor. John, with his usual whimsy, dubbed the machine Sparky. Even bad humor is appreciated these days. Each day I have a silent chat with Sparky and ask for highly effective cancer cell zapping. No harm to ask!
 
The daily chemo pills (Temodar) are nasty. But, Glioblastoma is nasty and you fight toxic with toxic. I’m fortunate the side effects have not been brutal. I’m not nauseous and I can sleep.  It was distressing to lose a few chunks of hair last week, but the patches aren’t huge and mostly are under other hair. I won’t have to shave my head – not yet, anyway.
 
Another milestone last week was the ok to have a glass of wine with dinner. I’ve been vino-free since the seizures August 12, and it’s nice to reintroduce this social luxury. My neuro-radiation specialist likened this tumor to a small terrorist inside my head. Fight it hard and smart, but the rascal doesn’t get to rule every part of my life. I’m on-board with that.
 
I’ve spent lots of time with family and friends the past 4 weeks. The sound of a clock ticking loudly accompanies GBM, and I’m reminded that the people I love are truly the center of my universe. I am deeply grateful for that bounty. Thank you again, my friends, for your love, prayers and support. Those prayers, and each of you, mean the world to me.
 
Love,
Beth
 
P.S. On a sad note, John and I had to put our dear old dog Addie to sleep a couple weeks after my surgery. She had stopped drinking, eating and would not move. At 14 years old, her time had come. She’s still my fur-ever friend and the best dog ever. The day before we put her down, she was sleeping with her soft muzzle resting on my bare foot. I said to myself, remember this feeling…

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Comments (35)

  • Nancy Beren
    Nancy Beren

    You are and continue to be a source of enormous inspiration!!! Thank you for giving us a window into your road to recovery! Please stay strong and of great courage!! Eat, Pray, Love and DRINK!!! xoxoxo

    8 months ago · Reply
  • MELISSA Ludtke
    MELISSA Ludtke

    Remember and cherish all of these feelings and your embraceable times with friends and family, furry and otherwise, and know you are also surrounded and embraced by so many friends scattered to all corners of the globe who are holding you tightly in their love and hope and warmth. Thanks for your update. I recall so well my dad's custom-made mask and his encounters with Sparky (perfect name, John!!) and how relieved he was when he could put the mask aside and know that he'd done the best he and machines could do in fighting back against his tumor. Soon, you will be there, too. So from across the Charles River, I send my love and hugs to you and John, Melissa

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Gail Klapper
    Gail Klapper

    Beth, Thanks for this remarkable update. I have been thinking about you constantly and wishing every good thing for you as you go through this unbelievable ordeal. Keep the humor and your positive attitude; we will all keep the good karma, many prayers, and love coming your way. With all my most powerful, positive, thoughts. Love, Gail

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Cynthia Busbee
    Cynthia Busbee

    So glad to hear that you are 2/3 of the way through treatment - good for you! I love that you ask Sparky for the most effective outcome. Please remember how many prayers are coming your way from near and far. Sending love and light, Cynthia Busbee Sullivan PS So sorry to hear about sweet Addie - amazing how she hung in there to comfort you after the surgery......holding you in my heart.

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Brooke Chamberlain Cook
    Brooke Chamberlain Cook

    Beth, You are an inspiration to all of us. My god do you have courage‼️ ❤️❤️Brooke

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Brooke Chamberlain Cook
    Brooke Chamberlain Cook

    Dear Beth, You are an inspiration‼️My god do you have courage and grit. Wow. ❤️❤️ Brooke

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Karen Sawyer O'Brien
    Karen Sawyer O'Brien

    You're so awesome Beth and you write so beautifully about what's happening to you.Thank you so much for sharing. So very sorry for your the loss of your dog. They bring such tenderness and love into our lives and It's so very sad to say good bye. Lots of love and hugs. 💜 Karen

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Judith P Hallett
    Judith P Hallett

    Beth, I so appreciate your upbeat update—keep sparking, remarking and fighting! And keep us posted too. You are such an inspiration to your many friends and fans!

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Judith P Hallett
    Judith P Hallett

    Thanks for your upbeat update! Please keep on sparking and remarking, fighting and savoring! You are such an inspiration to us all! Love from you friend and fan Judy

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Kathy Kaufmann
    Kathy Kaufmann

    Dearest Beth, You have been in my thoughts day after day after day, and I am grateful to have this update, filled with your usual light touch and optimism but also your realistic assessment of the road ahead. If you are able to manage a visit, I would absolutely love to see you. Sending so much love and so many blessings your way.

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Maura McKnight
    Maura McKnight

    Do you get to keep the helmet?! It would be one helluva cool Halloween costume! Might as well get the most use out of the darned thing. ;-) Love you XXOO

    8 months ago · Reply
  • donna webster
    donna webster

    Beth, Thank you for sharing your treatment progress. GO Sparky! Keep that strong and positive outlook and enjoy every bit of that wine! You’ve earned it! Sending much love and healing thoughts ❤️ Love Donna

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Rita Steadman
    Rita Steadman

    You are an inspiration. Much love and all our prayers from Bangor for you and John- Rita+

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Kathryn Porterfield
    Kathryn Porterfield

    So wonderful to hear your update. I think about you daily, still shocked at your diagnosis. Your head mask reminds me of what fencers wear which is an apt analogy for your battle against the baddies. Glad that a glass of wine has re-emerged as a source of pleasure! Love, Kathryn

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Abigail Barr
    Abigail Barr

    Dear Beth, Your update reads like a Master Class in Survival. May you continue to mine the humor, the love, the comfort out of each day.

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Luc Mertens
    Luc Mertens

    hi Beth, although it is not the perfect word to use in your difficult postition, I am happy to read that you are experiencing the chemo in a decent way. I hear nasty stories from other people who get really sick after every session.. our thoughts are with you. Keep up the good spirit. I am seeing Alison in a couple of weeks in Essen (I hope). For sure you will be one of our talking subject, you Always have been anyway :-) take care and stay in touch. Chris and LucM Belgium

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Cheryl Drake
    Cheryl Drake

    Beth, you always sound optimistic and cheerful, you truly are an amazing person. Thoughts and prayers that you and Sparky will overcome and give this cancer a huge fight. So glad that you have been able to enjoy your friends and family!! Am hoping to see you and your beautiful smile sometime soon back on the dance floor. Love, Cheryl "Drake" Grant

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Janet Wood
    Janet Wood

    It was so wonderful to hear from you! Your spirit and courage as you fight this terrorist invader are inspirational. A glass of wine is a bonus you deserve. Your friends and family are right beside you with love and encouragement. Bless you, Beth. Janet Wood

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Rick & Debby Smith
    Rick & Debby Smith

    Beth & John, You are continuously in our thoughts and such an inspiration to all .Life's gratitude is a key. Thanks for reminding us OXOX, Rick & Debby Smith

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Helene Tuchman
    Helene Tuchman

    Thank you for sharing your journey and thoughts with us. We will miss gentle attentive Addie too. I loved her presence on our drawing and painting trips. All good thoughts . Helene and Murray

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Carroll Fernald
    Carroll Fernald

    Thank you for your update, Beth. Tom and I are sending prayers for strength and healing to you and your family. So sorry about losing your precious Addie. Those furry friends are in our hearts forever and I love your comment about remembering the feeling of her soft muzzle on your foot.

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Jane Condon
    Jane Condon

    God, what a fighter you are, Beth. You went almost two months without a glass of wine?! WARRIOR! Now let's make up for lost time! Hugs and love.🍷🍷🍷

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Deb DeWalt
    Deb DeWalt

    I continue to think of you and John often Beth and am so glad to hear you sound strong and with plenty of fight in you! That is sad news about your pooch's passing though. They are the best when it comes to needing comfort and love. I am sure she is sending you plenty of it to keep you going. Sending all good thoughts and love!

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Betsey Maupin
    Betsey Maupin

    Dear Beth, I am thinking of you every day and hoping these treatments speed along and do their job. You're meeting this challenge with your usual grace. I wish we could all be there with you, but I know that you have your beloved ones beside you, and together you will kick this in the butt. Much love to you from our house to yours. Betsey

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Penny Scheerer
    Penny Scheerer

    Beth- It was so good to hear from you. Thank you for letting us know how you are doing. You are in our thoughts every day. We know you will keep fighting. We send out love, Penny and John

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Anne Hawley
    Anne Hawley

    Dear Beth I've just returned from Venice where the board & staff of Save Venice were visiting conservation projects in churches, museums, and palaces plus celebrating the 500th birthday of Tintoretto. Three exemplary exhibition are focusing on his life and works and the National Gallery in Washington will take portions of these for a celebratory look at his work in the spring. But I thought of you often as I looked at Tintoretto's pictures with their dazzling colors and brush work because he so often represented miracles. And that is what we want for you. I'm sure you have heard of the treatment that the Duke physician has devised with polio serum? One of the women in our group had a friend who has done very well with it. Perhaps they are using it at Mass General as well. Thank you for your recent message and for sharing your thoughts. With affection, Anne

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Phyllis McGibbon
    Phyllis McGibbon

    Thank you so much for the update, Beth! I have been thinking of you each day and wondering how long you might have to wait between your surgery and treatment time. So glad to know you're past the halfway point and have been managing to sleep. While being healthy and active can't keep any of us from having bad luck, I'm sure it's making a difference for you now as your body copes with the challenges of radiation and chemo. I'm sorry you had to say goodbye to Addie, especially right now. Sending kind wishes and good energy, Phyllis

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Laura Roy Daniel
    Laura Roy Daniel

    Beth, I have not checked this site lately. Sorry to read both the bad news (Addie), and the good news about your treatments and the wine! Best wishes & hugs, Laura

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Melody Christensen
    Melody Christensen

    Tom and I send our love. Glad to know you have a break soon and you and John can relax at your beautiful Seawall, with a glass of wine!

    8 months ago · Reply
    • John Foster
      John Foster

      We are so looking forward to returning to Maine, and fortunate to have a great place to stay in Boston. Beth has so many dear friends and family here, we are extremely grateful for their smiles, prayers, positive energy . Big Hugs and love to you Mel.

      8 months ago · Reply
  • Marianne Wellington
    Marianne Wellington

    Beth, So glad to hear that you are doing well with this horrendous ordeal that you are facing. As i look out my window to the Cranberries and Sutton Island, I can see you in your kitchen the night of the party rushing around making sure that everyone had enough delicious pizza’s. Hopefully soon you will be seeing that beautiful view again from your window in Manset. Our thoughts are with you as you go through this journey. I am a cancer survivor and soon you will be through your treatments and be one too. All the best to you and John. John&Marianne

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Janet Beckwith
    Janet Beckwith

    So glad to hear you're approaching the finish line of this first phase of treatment. You continue to be in my prayers daily. On a side note, a homeless woman I was dropping off at a motel for the night (Maria), asked if she could include anyone in her prayer intentions. I told her she could include you. God bless you both. Sorry about Maddie.🍷

    8 months ago · Reply
    • John Foster
      John Foster

      Thank you for the prayers Janet. God bless the lady you dropped off. That is extremely touching. Thanks Janet... Big love to you and Chip. J&B

      8 months ago · Reply
  • Gigi Coe
    Gigi Coe

    Beth, your courage and grace are amazing! Your pal in the far West is rooting for you every day, sending blessings, and hoping for all the best. On to the finish line! Keep us all posted as you can. Gigi

    8 months ago · Reply
  • Jeanette Tardif
    Jeanette Tardif

    Forgive me if this posts more than once because I am not positive I am using the technology correctly. Just want you to know that I think of you and John at some time during every day. If warm vibes and loving thoughts help, then you are golden. They travel from my house to your house very often. Jeanette

    8 months ago · Reply

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