Sunday, October 18, 2015

Cancer On My Mind

Ha ha - I couldn't help myself.

My dedicated readers will recall from my last post, "The Other Shoe," that although Xalkori continues to be totally amazing at controlling the cancer in my body, it is not doing so hot in my brain. 

So, as I predicted, I have amped up my participation in the medical appointment world, and have seen a radiation oncologist, a neurosurgeon, corresponded with several lung cancer specialists, and had a high-definition MRI. Having cancer is definitely a part-time job. But on the upside, I now have a RAD onc!

Both the rad onc and the neurosurgeon expressed some skepticism about the two tiny spots that the MRI picked up, questioning if those were even brain mets at all (there was no question on the 9 mm one). The repeat MRI used 1-2mm slices rather than the standard 5 mm slices, so that they could get a very high definition picture of what was going on in my brain. The stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is highly precise, so they need to know details down to the millimeter.

The good news is that, as far as they can tell, the two tiny spot were not actually mets at all, so there is just one met to treat. Who would have thought I would be happy about being told I have one brain met? It's all about perspective. Maybe they should take this approach with all diagnostic testing.

My SRS is scheduled for Monday, October 26. They do the planning scan in the morning, then I hang out all day while they sit around and chat plan my "brain surgery" (that involves no cutting), then they do the procedure that afternoon. They said to expect to be pretty wiped out the next day, but I shouldn't experience any major side effects.

Oh, technology!

On the home front we have done some major rearranging of the rooms in our house. It is something we have discussed several times, but hearing that the cancer is on the move again pushed us to take the plunge. The kiddos now all share the largest room, an odd-shaped attic space that is actually a much better room for kids than it was for Jason and I. Parts of the room are too small for an adult to stand upright, and there are weird little nooks that were kind of wasted space for us. Now the kids have an art nook, and dress up corner, and a comfy reading spot. And they are still young enough to think it is cool to all share a room. Jason and I have one of the rooms downstairs now, and the other room is a guest room/study. Knowing that we have a space where grandparents can sleep when they help us out is a great comfort, and it helps ease the worry that we may be needing more help in the future.

AND I got to do something I've wanted to do since I was a kid. I always said if I ever owned a house I wanted to paint it. Not in the normal paint-a-wall way, but to just grab some paints and start decorating it. So, we all did just that and painted the stairwell leading up to what is now the kiddos' room. The kids have asked if we can do this every day, and there are still blank spots, so why not?


Biosimilar  said...

Excellent! Quite moved by your story.

Alex said...

Hi Tori
I was so interested to read your post, thanks! I am also starting radio therapy to a growing brain met on Tuesday, so am wishing you the very best of luck. I am stage IV NSCLC with EGFR mutation taking Erlotinib since my diagnosis on March 2015, which has worked really well so far, but seems to be 'unpredictable' in crossing the blood brain barrier.
Hope it all goes well for you, it's so nice to know I'm not alone!

Lil-Lytnin said...

Hi Alex, best of luck to you on the radio therapy! I am so impressed by all the new tools they have to deal with this disease. Sorry you had to join the lung cancer club, but it is great to meet you.
If you are curious about others in your EGFR boat, check out this list of bloggers. Several are also EGFR and some are on second-generation inhibitors.