Wednesday, February 29, 2012

beam me up...



I started my week off bathing in light in the waiting room at Roger Maris.  My camera is sitting on my lap and I am shooting straight up.  

I met with my radiation doctor on Monday, Dr. Ethan Foster.  He had read my file and was familiar with my history.  Then he asked to examine me.  Before I could warn him about my lymph node under my arm he pushed just a little too hard and I flinched.  He jumped back and I felt so bad.  But the reason he had to push around to find it?  Is because its already shrunk.  It may be that the swelling has just gone down, but it could be that the node itself is shrinking.  Either way, we decided to hold off on radiating the nodes under my arm for now.  Love finding the silver lining so quickly!  Halaven seems to be having an effect on my nodes!  

Next we moved onto the issue of the spot in my back.  At times its fine.  Other times it flares and gives me fits.  Since there is a lengthy history with it,  and its precariously close to my spinal cord, we decided now is the perfect time to zap it.  The biggest side effect I may have is difficulty in swallowing for a few weeks, due to the esophagus being so close to the spine.  He felt a two week course of treatment should be enough, but he'd adjust accordingly if needed.

Then we got down to the biggest concern.  I have to admit, I've been pretty blasé about the whole brain blob thing.  When I don't have any symptoms, I simply don't focus on it very much.  But the reality of it set in as we started talking side effects of treatment.

I have two choices.  A one time targeted dose to the spot in my brain.  Or whole brain radiation.  With a targeted dose, the hope is to direct the radiation only to the tumor, and preserve the healthy tissue surrounding it.  Fatigue would most likely be the biggest side effect.  

Whole brain radiation on the other hand, targets the entire brain.  But the well known possible side effect is a decrease in overall mental functioning.  As Dr. Foster said "you could lose a few IQ points."  With my School Psychologist background and my intimate knowledge of IQ, well, "losing" and "IQ" are two words you never want to see sitting side by side in a sentence about yourself.

But....  the more nebulous/ominous question remains... are there more cancerous cells in my brain waiting to make their appearance?  Whole brain radiation would certainly zap those as well...  

Such big decisions, and yet for some reason, I didn't wrestle with this as much as I thought I would.  In fact, he had me choose first and then told me his thoughts.  

I chose a one time targeted dose.

He concurred.

Then he shared with me, for most people he recommends WBR.  But, if he were in my shoes, at my age?  He could see why I'd want to try the least invasive first,  he would too.  

Whew.  

Of course, I have to have another brain MRI first.  One that will take even more thinly sliced views of the brain.  If more spots appear, I will have no choice but to go for WBR.  

I topped off my big day with wig shopping.  I still have my hair, but my wig comes in this week!  I am ready.  

And this was just my Monday... sigh... I feel like I am passing through time in light years... 






Our big snowstorm?  Is kind of a bust.  We did get a few inches of snow and its blowing around out there, but  oh well, we'll take the snow day and snuggle in.  

One tiny prayer request?  I referred myself back to wound care.  I have a small "crater" that opened up along my incision. Sigh.  You prayed me through the last time and it totally worked.  But even this has a silver lining- I get to see Dr. Bouton again next week.  

An abundance of light has shown up in my mail box and front step!  Thank you for continuing to beam light at me from all angles! 

25 comments:

  1. I'm praying for you lady! I wish there was more than that I could do, but I believe in the power of faith and prayer and KNOW that God is good.

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  2. Why does that think I am unknown? It's me, Sandi Benson.

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  3. LOVE that last picture, frameworthy for sure.

    I think you made a wise choice by going with the targeted zap.Sending healing thoughts your way...

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  4. Praying for you, Vicky. I so admire your strength and determination.

    Eileen xxoo

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  5. Such decisions. Makes Solomon's challenges look like a walk in the park. I think you chose well, Vicky, and I'm glad your doctor thinks so, too, and it would be what he would do at your age. Those thoughts and statements must feel very valuable right now. I just hurt for you today. This is hard news because I don't want you to struggle or suffer with anything else. But if it is the thing that fixes it, then so be it. Praying, praying. Hard. Hugs and love.

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  6. You certainly had a good positive day All systems go!
    I love the picture with your boy and dog.
    A few IQ points can be retrained We only use half of our brain and people live doing quite well with practically no brain at all doing chemistry and playing the violin.

    And you will be no where close to what happened with Gabriel Gifford.
    This will be totally controlled.
    Well its a happy blog today. :)

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  7. Praying for you my dear! Wish I was closer so I could do more !

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  8. You are so brave! Lots of prayers-this snow storm was pathetic! xoxo

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  9. i am glad you are finding those silver linings along the way...i like the less invasive idea as well...and prayers too that it works and that is it...

    that is a cool shot you start with thatnks for letting us know the perspective on it...makes for a very cool window..a.nd of course the last shot is def warm...

    peace to you

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  10. Your courage continues to inspire! In my thoughts and prayers,
    Deb

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  11. (big sigh) so much to process, I know, and then the 'crater' to top things off! I am definitely praying for you....that the crater closes up, that the MRI doesn't show any new spots, that these radiation doses are zapping, shrinking, eliminating those cancer spots.

    Many many prayers for you AND your family.

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  12. Vicky girl, prayers for healing of your breast tissue and great choice on your radiation regime. :) I pray and thank JC for your continued healing.

    xoxo

    mimi

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  13. Oh Honey...just reading this, you really did have a whirlwind day on Monday.
    I'm praying as always and will be specific about the opening of that stubborn wound...
    to the moon and back sweet one...

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  14. May your life be graced with light every step of the way! You share such abundant light with us.

    Love your last photo.

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  15. I love how you find the silver lining in everything. A good lesson for all of us. It's there if we only look.

    I think the targeted approach was a good decision. I'll be praying that the MRI goes smoothly and shows nothing more.

    Praying for the crater. I have a friend who is also fighing that - and is gaining on it.

    I pray that there will be silver linings, sunsets, and sunrises, and much light on the rest of your journey.

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  16. Prayers heading your way. Fight like a girl.

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  17. Your light and hope is going to get me through this day, Vicky. I'm so glad I stopped by. I think I would have chosen the same, given the options and information. You are always an inspiration. Let me know when you're well enough for visitors again. I'd love to swing by during a lunch break.

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  18. Vicky, I am so glad that our mutual friend, the beautiful Robin, guided you over to my place yesterday, and that you left a comment, for it brought me here today. What a gift. I can tell that you are a woman of great strength and inner resources. I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. xo Gigi

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  19. Keep your eyes on Jesus Vicky! With love & prayers, Cynthia

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  20. You're on my heart big time. Praying, praying. I loved the silver lining part. Such a dear lesson for us all.

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  21. Sending love and light your way.

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  22. Hello Vicky !!

    Your last post on ''The Power of Love'' moved me literally to my tears ... how tender yet so strong emotions/compassion it had !!
    It is absolutely not easy to deal with suffering and to have compassion. This happens only when one understands what suffering is ?, alongwith the nature/cause of suffering. Once we know suffering, we are rid of it. When we know the nature of suffering, it leads to happiness, because it leads to more loving kindness and compassion to others. This happens spritually only & in kindest of hearts like the one you have.

    I do hope there are no new spots in the brain & selected target therapy do wonders for you.
    Your camera work is amazing as always, in both the shots.

    Blessings & prayers for health & happiness ...

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  23. you got it sweetie....prayers the size of giant meatballs and thousands of them, are coming your way....right now !!!

    you are in my thoughts daily....xoxo

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  24. Oh, those craters are such a pain. Literally. Ugh.

    The title of your post made me smile.

    Isn't it good when your radiation decision matches the doctors? So reassuring I am sure.

    And I hope you had fun wig shopping. I took Becky with me, and we had a BLAST.

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  25. That last photo is great. Vicky, you are an ABUNDANCE of light!

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I welcome what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to grace me with your thoughts and words!

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