Brain scan results – the good, the okay, and the bad.
March 18, 2010
tags: bone metastases, breast cancer, Cancer treatment, Chemotherapy, cyber knife, gamma knife, metastatic breast cancer, Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS)
[picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=good%2c+bad%2c+ugly&iid=2606016″ src=”e/a/4/e/Clint_Eastwood_9b52.jpg?adImageId=11415341&imageId=2606016″ width=”234″ height=”193″ /]The results are a mixed bag as things almost always are these days.
The good news is that there are no new lesions. This means that whatever tumor cells are floating around in my blood didn’t get into my brain this time to make any new tumors — at least nothing that they can see (they have to be bigger than 1mm to see). This means the chemo and supplements are doing their job.
The okay news is that the two lesions they treated with gamma knife in August have neither grown nor shrunk. At some point they just become scar tissue and stay the same size forever, so that moment might have arrived. I would have liked to see them continue to shrink.
The bad news is that the two lesions they found in January have both grown slightly. I was hoping they’d stay the same or start shrinking. There is one in the left parietal lobe, which increased in two months from 3mm to 4mm. The other, in the right thalamus, increased from 2mm to 3mm. They can’t treat with gamma knife until the lesion reaches 6mm, so we will continue to wait and watch. If the lesions keep a steady growth then the larger won’t be big enough to treat for four months. I spoke with the oncologist about this today, and this is not his area of best expertise, so I have a follow-up with the brain surgeon on Monday. I need to ask him what the margin of error is on the scans. Some of them have a 1mm margin of error, so this growth might be no growth at all in reality. Just pray I don’t have any symptoms before we can treat these or, better yet, pray they’ll go away.
The two affected parts of the brain are pretty important. Symptoms can include the following:
Damage to the left parietal lobe can result in what is called “Gerstmann’s Syndrome.” It includes right-left confusion, difficulty with writing (agraphia) and difficulty with mathematics (acalculia). It can also produce disorders of language (aphasia) and the inability to perceive objects normally (agnosia).Thalamus: large, bilateral (right thalamus/left thalamus) egg-shaped mass of gray matter serving as the main synaptic relay center. Receives/relays sensory information to/from the cerebral cortex, including pain/pleasure centers
Also, my white blood cell count took a very fast dive from last week to this. This puts me at risk for infection, so I’ll be getting a shot tomorrow afternoon to boost my white count. The last time I had this kind of shot I ended up with major bone pain, so I’m NOT looking forward to this. Other side effects include headache and vomiting and possibly increased cancer growth. Nice, eh? So, it’s a tradeoff between opening myself up to getting a deadly infection like MRSA, or giving the cancer something new to grow on. So, I’ll do this once and pray that I don’t have to do it again. Meanwhile, I’ll talk to the naturopath about other ways to build while cells.