Half of my cancer battle is fighting the cancer. The other half, it seems, is getting my scans down to UCLA for them to review and tell me their recommendations!
I recently had my 3 month follow up scan on October 6th. We found out the results from the local hospital only a couple of days later, but as mentioned in prior posts, we always wait to share any news until we hear from UCLA. They are our “final answer” people, so when we hear from them, then we’ll share with family, friends, etc. My scan was delivered to UCLA on a Tuesday, exactly five days after I had it done here in Oregon. Perfect. They would be able to review it at tumor board on Wednesday. I would have my scan, a local radiology report and UCLA’s opinion all within a week. BAM! I finally had this baby down to a science, as I should after 8 years! The great thing was that, yes, it was delivered. The not so great thing was that nobody had any clue *where* it was delivered. I’m not quite sure what I was thinking allowing the shipping lady to choose my method of shipping, which was Priority Mail, but nev-uh again. The second round went to FedEx and of course it arrived by 10:30 Tuesday morning.
Drumroll please…..my tumor continues to shrink!!! I was able to quickly talk to Dr.Liau the other day as she was walking out the door for surgery. She said the part that is getting smaller is shrinking away from critical areas, which is great news! My tumor that is left is around areas of the brain stem, which controls most vital functions in the body. Because it’s shrinking away, she said that if/when there is more growth, that another surgery is an option and she might be able to get more of that tumor out. The idea of surgery #5 is just overwhelming at this point, but probably because the numerous complications of #4 are still just a bit too fresh for all of us. She also said, though, that she’ll never be able to get all of my tumor out. There is more tumor, not attached to this main tumor, that is into brain that she just can’t touch.
She was really surprised to find out that I haven’t been doing any treatment since radiation. They made it so clear before and after surgery that radiation was only going to possibly slow or stunt the growth of this tumor, but not shrink it. NOT SHRINK IT! I’m pretty sure I asked her that question and threw her answer back at her at least ten times as my reasoning for not wanting to pull out the radiation card, yet, when they wanted me to do it back in 2008. Why would I do it if it won’t get rid of it? Radiation is one of the only etiologies that has been linked to these brain tumors. At this point, she thinks it’s best to watch and wait, getting a scan every 6-8 weeks. Dr. Cloughesy, my neuro-oncologist at UCLA wants me to be on a chemo called BCNU, not being comfortable with me having a high grade brain tumor hanging out in my noggin’ that can explode at any time not being on treatment. I think I’m doped up enough on seizure drugs and will save the chemo for ‘as needed’.
So, what have I been doing? I have an entire army of people bathing me in prayer on a daily basis! Really. This is so clearly God’s hand controlling everything. It’s medically not in their realm. They never see cases like this, they say! I have been hearing this out of their mouths for years, now.
How can this not be God’s hand?
I think so, too.