After the brain scan….
This email originally went to the group on July 20, 2009.
Here’s what I found out at the radiation oncologist’s office today. This the first bit of hopeful news I’ve had for a couple of weeks. The diagnosis of breast cancer spread to my brain of course had the whole family flattened all weekend.
The two spots on my brain are very small and are on the left frontal lobe, which is why I haven’t had any symptoms. Apparently that lobe is very good at compensating for any damage. In general people with tumors in that area do not know until it’s way too late to hold out much hope for survival. If the spots hadn’t shown up on my lung and rib, we wouldn’t have looked at my brain for several more months according to my usual scan schedule. That could have put me in the “way too late” category quite easily. This is why we’re supposed to be thankful in everying. I was trying to work that through with the cancer in the lung and rib, and now it’s easier for me to be at least a little thankful.
As such, the radiation oncologist is recommending treating the brain spots singuarly with what’s known as a “gamma knife.” He doesn’t think whole-brain radiation is appropriate or necessary. He’s also the first doctor I’ve talked with who thinks “they” can get me through for 10 years or so, noting that anything can happen in that time as far as treatment options to extend my life even further. The Internet has me dead in 9 months. He told me to stop reading the Internet. He also emphazised that he can’t make any guarantees, and he says that I might have to pop back in over the course of the years to get re-zapped with radiation and re-poisoned with chemo, and I really should have my affairs in order — but so should everyone else.
So, I’m feeling a little more hopeful. Further, the radiation oncologist suggested that we might consider radiation treatment to my lung rather than full-on surgery. He’s calling the surgeon and the medical (chemo) oncologist, but we won’t have an answer until tomorrow. So, it could be that rather than having my chest cut open on Wednesday I will NOT be in the hospital but instead be scheduled for some radiation. I like that idea quite a bit, but I want to do what’s best as far as my long-term survival goes.
The best news is that he reminded me that my tumors are all small and slow-growing, and that my immune system has been doing a great job on its own fighting this stuff back these past five years. I believe that my immune system is in God’s control and that prayer will keep it boosted.