Good News, Bad News

The slacker blogger returns.  I can only apologize f0r the gaps between updates, but cut me some slack… I’ve got cancer, remember?

Since the last update I was given the option to complete a 6th round of the bio-chemo.  I was told by my doctor that the 5th round was unexpectedly effective and therefore he thought that a 6th round might be effective, as well.  Remember, they removed one of the chemo drugs for these treatments because it was making me so terribly sick for so long after the hospitalization.  That being said, I felt like I would be foolish not to opt for the 6th round.  If there was a chance that it would be even half as effective as the 5th, then I needed to go for it. 

The recovery from the 6th round was a bit of a struggle.  Once of the side effects of bio-chemo is a potentially dangerous decline in blood pressure.  I struggled with this twice in the hospital.  Once passing out in the bathroom and hitting my head on the sink, resulting in a nice little trip to the CT scanner.  Gratefully, once again (using my family’s words) there was nothing in my head.  I don’t remember the timeline exactly but I believe it was the following day, this time I was able to at least tell my sister that I felt light headed and she was able to get me into a chair before I passed out again.  When I came to, she was holding me up and my other sister was yelling for help out the door. The next thing I remember there were MANY people in the room helping us.  My blood pressure seemed to stabilize after that but we weren’t done with the side effects.

Hallucinations worked their way back into our world with this treatment.  Both in the hospital and once we returned home.  I don’t remember any of this stuff, but I’m told I was very concerned about my cats.  (Who, by the way, are still staying with my Dad and he is still acting like a typical grandparent and spoiling them like crazy).

I had more scans done yesterday.  A PET scan, a CT scan and an MRI of the brain.  The PET and CT scans showed a couple of metabolically active spots that we already knew about but absolutely no growth in those areas.  We were quite pleased with this news.  The last round was also very effective in reducing the size of the two primary tumors in my liver.  WE WERE EXSTATIC ABOUT THIS!!!  Dad and Rebecca were with me for the results and my doctor even hugged me and told me how glad he was that it looked like I was recovering so well.  As we were getting ready to walk out of the room Rebecca started to tear up and we looked over at her.  “So this means the brain MRI was good?”, she asked.  My oncologist looked at me and said that he hadn’t realized that I’d gone for the MRI.  He left to go pull up the results.

When he came back in he was the most somber looking I’d ever seen him.  “I need to talk to you about your MRI results”.  I felt my stomach jump into my throat.  There’s a 2 centimeter lesion on the sensory portion of my brain.  He told me he felt like this could be handled efficiently by a doctor with a Gamma Knife at USC Norris Medical Center.  The Gamma Knife is a radiation procedure.  Interestly enough it’s done on an outpatient basis.  Seriously????  They can work on your brain and it’s outpatient??? Are you kidding me?

As it stands right now, I’m waiting for the Gamma Doc’s office to call.  I’ll either go in today for the consult and get the treatment tomorrow, or I’ll go in tomorrow for the consult and Thursday for the treatment.  Either way we are still scheduled to start the maintainence program on Friday and I should still be eligible for the Ipilumimab in August as planned. 

As usual, we have to look at the upside to all of this.  When I spoke with my doc about the maintainence program he said it was totally fine to work around my summer plans for the hospital admit dates.  This means I’ll get to go to Idaho in June to see my cohort graduate!!!  It also means that I’ll get to attend my friend’s wedding on July 4th and then leave for 4 more days in Idaho on the 5th. 

I’m pretty confident that things are going to be fine and that this is nothing more than a hiccup in the road.  Wish me luck!!!

******Since this was posted I’ve found out that the Gamma Knife procedure will most likely not be done this week.  I misunderstood my doc when he was explaining everything (this is why you should NEVER go to the doctor alone in these situations).  We need to wait to hear from the doctor at USC and his scheduling department.  More to come soon.


10 responses to “Good News, Bad News

  1. The gamma knife is something I know a little about and it is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. Yes it is generally done as an outpatient procedure because it is non invasive. It is so awesome how it is targeted at just the spot it wants to hit leaving all the other tissue untouched. Absolutely amazing thing the gamma knife. Oh did I mention I think it is awesome?

  2. Lisa Hutchins

    So are your hallucinations similar to those of Izzy’s on Grey’s? Ha! Just palyin. Well you hang in there. You are by far the toughest girl I know!

    • My sister and I were just talking about Izzy’s hallucinations….. I’m not that lucky. I hallucinate about my cats and my dad rollerskating in the rain without a jacket. Oh well……

  3. Heather, you are such an inspiration. Keep up the positive attitude. I will keep praying for your full recovery. You are in my thoughts every day! How do I get a blog like this? 🙂

  4. Jessica Miles

    You are amazing! I can’t wait to see you in June!

  5. Heather………..Yesterday was not the best day for us, nerves are frail (at least mine are) but love, faith and hope could not be stronger! and by the way, you were not alone at the doctors, I just wasnt’ there and that makes all the difference in the world! I’m the MOM and you are my HERO!


  6. Hey, it too bad your not going to make it to Boise for the party, but we hope to see you this summer on the river! Better make a check list of gear to bring, such as UV resistant clothing and plenty of sun block. Also, If your gear doesn’t fit anymore we might be able to get Swim and Run shop to hook you up again so no worries 🙂
    We all miss you and will be thinking of you at the Kick off party!
    BTW hello Mom and Rebecca 🙂

  7. Still love ya’ and miss ya’.


  8. Heather, I’ve been following your journey and appreciate the time you take to educate us. Thanks for the gamma knife pics; i’ve always wondered what the machine looks like. i’m listening to the Red Sox against Texas as i write this. I grew up in NYC as a Yankee fan in the 1950’s but have lived in New England 30 years and there’s something about Fenway Park that is amazing. My whole family loves baseball and keep up the good fight.


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