Yeah, darn it - there is progress to report. Progress is not good in the world of cancer.
Today's MRI revealed tumor progression. I was always told that it was a matter of "when", not "if", but there has always been hope that I would somehow become a medical oddity (in a good way).
So far it's rather small and in the same general area. Just a blob extending out of the tumor bed area. I'm glad it's not a bunch of grapes sitting on my brain stem or anything like that. But it's the signal that Temodar (the wonder drug) is no longer effective for me.
My options are:
1. Surgery, which is something I'd prefer to avoid as the holiday season approaches (already did that to my family last year). It's also not recommended, given the small size and lack of symptoms.
2. Focused radiation, which is not recommended, because the tumor is larger and has more infiltrating characteristics than what would be ideal for this treatment.
3. Chemotherapy using an experimental combination of Avastin and Carboplatin. This is something my doctor has been using with good results. It's not a cure, and it has its own down-side, but it's something. This is what we are going with.
I start on Tuesday. I travel downtown and hook up to an IV for four hours. Luckily I have a laptop and can maybe get some work done while I sit there. I go back two weeks later for a different infusion (a little shorter) and then repeat every two weeks. I undergo a LOT of monitoring for all of the nasty side effects on my kidneys, liver, stomach, and immune system. I have MRI's every other month, as usual. If this works - great - we keep going. If not, the list of options narrows a little more.
I have been amazed at the calm and peace I have felt as I digest this news. It's not a happy thing. It's disappointing, and it hurts to know that this causes pain for my husband, my parents, and others who just think I'm so darn cute and lovable. I know that this is a big change that will require more adjustment, more logistics to work out, etc. It may affect the things that consume most of my time and energy right now. It puts urgency into the "tie up loose ends" in my life. It causes me to worry about a potential financial impact. It causes me to wonder if (or when) I will start to lose some of my talents and abilities. (Got another Messiah performance on December 17 - gotta keep enough right brain intact!!!) It especially gives me concern about my son, because I want to shield him from this crisis.
And yet - despite all of this - there is calm and peace. There is stuff to think about and work through in my mind, but I feel no despair. I feel sad, but I feel that I am watched over and cared for. My trust in the Lord has not wavered at all. I know that all will be well, whatever is happening now. The prayers of many have given me what I need to endure this. I'm sure that many more prayers will continue on my behalf, and they will continue to help me. Just please pray for my family, too.
Be still, my soul,
thy best, thy Heavenly Friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.