Today we met with my neuro-oncologist at Chao Cancer Center to learn the results of the MRI of the brain and spine. It was good news and bad news.
The good news was the MRI showed no mets to the brain.
The bad news received a lot more discussion. The cancer seems to be planting itself along the vertebrae, and in at least one place pressing upon the spinal cord. This is the same area as a fracture of the vertebral body (T1), and the compression of the spinal cord was visible even to my poorly trained eyes. She explained that this could cause a variety of symptoms, including poor hand coordination (which I have been mentioning to them recently as I having been finding it difficult to write) There were some other symptoms, which I will save until they actually start showing up.
The solution is perhaps to do surgery to mend the fracture and take the pressure off of the spinal cord. The complication is that my CTC looks like it has increased, and I will be discussing that further with my regular hematology-oncologist next week. The presumption is that the current treatment may not be working as fast as they would like, and perhaps a change is in order. If that is the case, they may want to do chemo before surgery or before anything else, including the pending radiation that we wanted to do to alleviate the symptoms in my lower spine, radiating out to my left hip and femur.
In the meantime, next Tuesday we will proceed with a spinal tap, and she wants me to keep an eye out for any new or increasing symptoms.
It is amazing how, even when the news is not great, it is still better for someone like me than not knowing. At least I know we have a plan, a direction, and all of my oncologists are discussing the plan of attack together. While she was seeing me, she was already in contact with my regular oncologist to discuss possible plant of attack. That always gives me confidence; knowing my doctors are communicating and discussing what should come next makes me feel like I could not be in better hands. I just need to sit back and figure out how much I want to undergo. If my chances are good because I’m still strong enough and they think there is an expectation that I can derive a good result from a plan, I will take it. We have been discussing in one of my forums lately when “is it time to stop treatment,” and I think until it is clearly that point based on all of my team members’ perceptions, I am going for each next viable treatment. I believe I have a few, if not several options, before I hit a different threshold.
Next week: spinal tap: outpatient procedure performed by my own neuro-oncologist. New research to do between now and then. As always, your comments are welcome.
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