Jul 27, 2016

Getting reacquainted with cancer... for the third time

I cannot believe we have not posted in three years! I'll get down to it...

I had a brain MRI done about a week ago and today I got to see my Neuro-Oncologist... but not my regular doctor.. Dr. Conrad unfortunately passed away from an accident that apparently occurred at his home. Sad thing, he was a rock star, one of the top 100 is the US. I'll miss the guy. So instead I saw Dr. Groves, he and Dr. Conrad both came to Austin from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, they know the staff back there very well. Good thing too, because today the scans showed an abnormality.

Six months ago the scans were perfectly clear. Today, which was my five year scan, shows a mass about 5mm across in size below the original tumor site further down in my brain. Dr. Groves is pretty certain that the tumor, an Ependymoma Grade III, has returned. We know its been there less than six months, but we do not know the pace it is growing at.

Top row of images show the white dot which is the tumor, bottom row is six months ago.

Tomorrow Dr. Groves is going to speak with Dr. Lang back at MD Anderson Brain and Spine, who was my neurosurgeon back in 2011, they will discuss the scans and come up with a plan. Right now there are three obvious options: surgery (again), radiation (last done in 2006) and the experimental Delta 24 (DNX2401) trial that Dr. Conrad and Dr. Lang worked together on. In addition, we will be doing another MRI in six weeks to see if we can chart the growth rate of the tumor.

We don't know much more than that at this point. When I heard the news I felt like I got the wind knocked out of me for a bit, but had to realize that we have this and this is the smallest we have ever found it which is a good thing. On the long drive home filled with rain and traffic, I notified Holly, family, and my closest friends in my battle to let them know. Now I am letting you know because we have never kept this a secret. We hope that what we have gone through over the past ten years has helped somebody out there going through something similar. Am I scared? Yes. Anxious, sick, worried, tired? All yes.

I don't want to go through this again. I hate it. I hate it for anyone that has gone through this. The uncertainty and questions. I don't want to go through it again and I don't want Holly to either. But now there's Abigail. I never wanted her to have to experience Daddy going through this like he did the past two times, but she will.

I know what you're thinking.. how can you help? Pray. Pray for a miracle. Pray for healing. Pray that the dot in the MRI was an anomaly and won't be there in six weeks. Don't feel sorry for us, fight with us. Encourage us. Be there if we need it. That's what we'll need in the coming weeks.
We'll get through this. I'll survive. I may lose more function after another surgery, but at least I'll have my life and family.

‪#‎cancer‬ ‪#‎braintumor‬ ‪#‎ependymoma‬