This Monday, I had my neurosurgery consult at Yale with Dr. Chiang. She has recommended a craniotomy to the right frontal lobe of my brain, where the largest “spot” with the most swelling is located. It’s near the surface so she should be able to just scoop it out – probably not the technical term – with the least potential for side effects. Let’s hope she uses a melon baller and not a ladle.
Dr. Chiang explained that if the biopsy reveals tumor, as she suspects it will, the growing spots could be treated with another round of Gamma Knife surgery. And if the biopsy turns up radiation necrosis only, I have the option of Avastin as a follow up treatment. If it’s a mix, I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. So that is the game plan for now. Surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, May 5.
To follow up on our eventful Monday, I started to develop the headache from hell on Tuesday evening, what we now recognize as the start of a seizure. I managed to sleep through most of the night. But Wednesday I woke up early and the headache was back, along with more seizure symptoms including serious visual disturbances, vomiting, and being unable to operate my phone (to get my medical history for the EMTs – brain/tech FAIL), Two ambulance rides later, we spent Wednesday in hospital EDs having tests run and medications adjusted. I’m back at home now and doing much better on the new med mix. Monday, I’ll go into Yale for surgical preadmissions testing and then early on Wednesday I’ll undergo the surgery.
Finally, when we asked Dr. Chiang about our planned trip to London later this summer, she just said to “go and have a good time.” If there’s one thing we know in this brain metastases game it’s that you can’t predict how long each treatment will work for each patient. So we go on with our philosophy of treating aggressively, minimize symptoms with meds and lifestyle, and trying to hold onto our sanity and have fun despite the physical distractions (although that’s tougher some times than others). Fingers crossed all goes well, and your prayers and good thoughts on Wednesday are very much appreciated.