Thursday, September 27, 2012

The "Keeping You Posted" Post

I saw my new doctor today and liked him very much.  He has a very different manner than my last radiation oncologist, a bit lighter and not so serious, which I personally prefer.  Plus, he had good coffee in his office.

Although, truth be told, I wouldn't much care if the doctor had the personality of a bed post as long as he or she really, really knows their stuff, but I really don't appreciate arrogant doctors and am delighted to have an excellent, positive energetic doctor who has nary a trace of that "I'm a brain surgeon" swagger.

Anyway, he took lots of time with us in an office rather than an exam room (another touch I appreciate) to explain our options.  He showed us the 3D image of the tumor and where exactly it is sitting.  It is deep inside the brain and as so is inoperable.  So it basically boiled down to two choices:  zap it now or watch and see what it does.  Everyone is so miffed by that last disappearing tumor back in March that there is almost a "let's wait and see" feel.  However, it is growing so quickly (actually already 1.3 cm by his measurements in 3D, not just across one plain that showed the 7mm) that he suggested we get it before it gets any bigger.  This has grown in under three months, since my last brain MRI in June showed no trace of it.  My last doctor would not treat over a centimeter, but this doctor is willing to.

The concern with treating a larger tumor, I learned today, is that while they can be very precise with the intense radiation dose and where it goes, there is a halo of much less intense radiation that will circle the tumor, often leading over time to brain tissue necrosis in the area.  The bigger the original tumor, the greater the halo and the more damage done to the brain.  They are finding, as people with brain mets are living longer and longer, that this incidence is much higher than they had originally thought.  But I still prefer to have more years with my kids than perfectly preserved brain tissue.  They'll still love me if I'm a dummy.  (At least they'd better!)

Today right after our get acquainted appointment, the office staff made my mask (you remember, the one that bolts you to the table and makes an excellent Halloween souvenir at the end) and something new to me...a bite plate that screws my jaw down with my mask so I can't move even the teeniest fraction of a millimeter.  Warning:  if you are claustrophobic or have a serious gag reflex, don't get cancer in your brain!  I was fighting my own mild gag reflex all day.  Breath through the nose, breath through the nose, don't let your tongue touch the intruder in your mouth. etc., etc.

So, net net, I am all set for a single mega dose of radiation on Tuesday.  No decadron (yippee, yahoo!), a thirty minute procedure, and then we wait months to see what it does.  My doctor believes I have a 80-90% chance of a complete response.  I am praying for better odds than that, but I'll take what I can get.

There you have it, up to the minute.  It's in God's hands now...always has been.


Debbie said...

I think of you all of the time Suzanne...hang in there. You amaze me every day!

Anonymous said...

Suzanne - I'm sorry you have to go through this but have faith that you will get what you need. I will say a special prayer tonight. Hugs -Maura

Kerry said...

Wow! Praying for you!!!

Nicole said...

You are such an amazing and strong person Suzanne. You are always in mine and my families prayers. Always know God is there with you and so are your loved ones. God Bless.

Nicole Q.

stacy said...

New to your blog.... we will be praying for you.

Barb said...

Still praying for you daily! I'm so sorry that you have to go through this...

Bianca said...

Thanks for keeping us posted! You're in our daily prayers. You're such an inspiration to all of us and your family. Keep fighting knowing God is holding you in his arms!

Anonymous said...

The good news is you had so much brain power, we may all be able to finally keep up with those smarts - though I even doubt it with this dose I will be at your caliber!!
With you in heart, spirit and thoughts!

anna lisa said...

Suzanne. You are God's warrior. Your attitude is a saint's attitude. Please know that we never stop praying for you every single day. I know that all you really want is just to be a wife and a mother, and that alone is painful, but this epic battle is just that, and the stuff that Saint's stories are made of. I still want to yell at God just a teeney tinie bit and sort of say "Oh come on, she's a saint already, let someone else pick up the slack!" --The somewhat ticked reaction is how I looked at it in the beginning, but I can't help but pause now in silence, and simply be amazed and edified by the grace, hope, goodness and peace that emanate from your words. You are His, and He is blessing the world through you. Thank you for this.
Anna Lisa