It’s test result time. My latest CT scan, from the neck down, came back stable. The biggest concern that I had going into the scan was my hip, but the pain has diminished and the scan found nothing except arthritic changes (welcome to my 50s).
However, my damn brain is not cooperating. The MRI revealed that seven of my remaining eight metastases have grown in size since my whole brain radiation. Number eight has stayed the same size. It’s impossible to determine from the MRI whether the growth is new tumor or radiation necrosis (or a combo of the two). Both can cause the problems I’ve been dealing with (i.e., nausea, short term memory loss, balance problems, etc).
The next step for me isn’t clear. One treatment my doctors have suggested is to add Avastin (bevacizumab) to my current treatment regimen. It works by starving the blood vessels that feed the tumors. In clinical studies it has also proven to be useful in treating cerebral radiation necrosis for some women. Avastin does come with the possibility of nasty side effects, and this particular use is considered off-label (it is not FDA approved for use in treating breast cancer metastases or radiation necrosis). But a lot of treatments for MBC are off-label, so that doesn’t deter me.
The other option is yet another surgery, which would also allow us to remove one or more of the largest of the tumors. They can then biopsy the brain tissue and a pathologist can determine what is tumor and/or necrosis. We see my favorite neurosurgeon on Monday to discuss the surgical option and what it would entail so we can weigh the pros and cons.
On the good news front, we have booked our bucket list trip to London for the end of July, and have been mapping out our adventure. It makes a nice diversion from medical tests and tumor talk. I’ve wanted to visit England since I was a kid, so I hope my brain calms down and doesn’t derail our plans.
Once we have a “brain plan,” I’ll post again to update everyone. In the meantime, please keep thinking good thoughts for us all.