Thursday, November 8, 2012

On the Offensive

Believe it or not, it has been one month since Brady's scan. Today Brady and I met with our local oncologist. His first question to me was, "So, have you had a chance to digest everything?" And the answer is, yes. Yes, we have.

It is a unique situation in that despite this recent "change" within Brady's body, nothing else has changed. After the initial shock, fear, and grief passed, we have just settled back into normal life. Certainly there is that tiny black rain cloud hanging over the corner of our home, but most days it has been overshadowed by the crazy-fun-loud life with our 4 under 6. Who has time for cancer talk?

Dr. Korones asked me if I wanted to "see" the film of the recent scans. It was very interesting as it was a view looking from the bottom up. The spot looked huge, although it is only centimeters big. It had a very strange shape and Brady yelled out, "Did I swallow a hairdryer?!?!?" What a nut!

There is a vertical sliver that runs along his thoracic spine (think between shoulder blades) and then at the top of this piece it extends in a right angle toward his spine. I did not like seeing that the horizontal segment butts right up against his spinal fluid. I will never, ever forget seeing the original tumor when he was diagnosed and how it almost completely strangulated his spinal cord. There was almost no spinal fluid visible, which accounted for the fact that his legs were almost paralyzed. This time, however, the spinal fluid is completely fine. This spot is just sitting there, right next to it though, and that was very unnerving.

So, what do the experts think?
The experts think that this spot is slow growing, and possibly could be done growing.

The experts think that we should rescan in 3 months from the last scan (January). If the spot remains unchanged, we will rescan again in 3 months. If it has changed, we will stay on the offensive and decide if surgery is necessary. The surgeon in NYC is very confident that they can remove this spot.

 Many have asked, why not just take it out, regardless of it changes or not? The experts are advocating the least invasive approach. Brady's body has already endured 2 radical surgeries, including a 5 level laminectomy. Spinal surgery is risky business. He already deals with life long side effects from the first two surgeries, and if we can avoid further risk and complication, we have to follow that plan.

  Our doctor said this to me today. "I am fully confident that Brady will go on to live a full life. I am somewhat confident that no further surgery will be needed. I am very confident that this spot is a slow growing, most likely mature Neuroblastoma-Gangliorneuroma. I am very confident that we will stay ahead of it"

Matt and I have gone back and forth about whether to stay here for scans in January or go to Sloan. For right now, we have a scan scheduled here in January. Our doctor here will send the scans to the NB team at Sloan afterward. Matt and I are praying on this decision.

We are very grateful for the kindness shown to us this past month. Your prayers and encouragement have been wonderful. I joke all the time that it is hard to be my friend. The non stop drama for the past 6 years is exhausting to witness, I am sure! I hope though that the story of our lives is more a story of God's faithfulness, than one of of abundant blessings, more than struggle.