November 1, 2023 – Six weeks of radiation have come to an end, and I got to ring the bell at the McLaren Proton Therapy Center today. The people there were awesome and made things as pleasant as they could be under the circumstances.

The proton therapy is really remarkable and the side effects are generally much less as compared to the more common photon radiation. There’s less radiation passing through to the “good side” of my brain, and the inflammation and pain are less. Overall, I had some headaches, swelling, and a nice sunburn on the right side of my head, but nothing that caused me to take any extra medication. Hair loss did happen on the right side where I was zapped, but I didn’t really have far to go in that area anyway.

Getting the treatments was pretty simple. You just lie back upon the treatment table and then they pin your head down to the deck with a custom-fitted mesh mask (not as painful as it sounds). Then the table spins you around to the appropriate angle, and the proton beam delivery panel rotates to a specific angle and you get zapped. My treatment had 4 specific angles of attack, and from start to finish I was usually done within 30 minutes. I didn’t feel anything during the treatments, and I know a few times I took a micro-nap. Later in the day the fatigue would set in (and this had a cumulative effect from week 1 to 6), and then towards nighttime my head would still be quite warm on the radiated side and it would be swollen a bit. Sometimes sleeping on my right side wasn’t possible, but it wasn’t as bad as right after my surgery when I still had my staples holding things together. But overall the side effects didn’t once cause me to close the store.

So what does this all mean?

Am I cured?

Am I moving on in my treatments?
You betcha.

Do I get to sleep in a bit more?
Yup – no 1 hour drives each way every morning to Flint – wahoo! And hopefully I don’t need those afternoon naps any longer.

What’s next?
More scans and then a boatload of chemotherapy. My initial chemotherapy coincided with the radiation and it also stopped on Nov. 1. Now I’ll have a few weeks off from the chemotherapy (I’m really looking forward to this) until the increased dosing begins in 3-4 weeks.

What does this mean for business?
My strength is coming back and I’m much more able to assist in loading and securing mattresses. I’m not yet back at Beducator Strength, but let’s be real, few are.
Also, I’ll be rotating the hours at the store back to normal starting the week of Nov. 6. Those will be:
Tues – Fri: 10-6
Sat: 10-5
Sun-Mon: Closed
There will still be a few days when I’ll be coming in late due to appointments for scans or with my oncologist, but I’ll be sure to post that on the Home Page of Mattress To Go, as well as the Facebook Page of Mattress To Go.

Thanks to everyone for putting up with my abbreviated hours as I go through my treatments, which will hopefully allow for my family to put up with me for a while longer!

Jeff Scheuer Beducator Ringing Bell McLaren Proton Therapy Center