Brain Games

Based on my last blog I can confidently say that I’ve about lost my mind. But the good news is it looks like my brain is going to be ok. I just finished (literally, like an hour ago) the targeted radiation that was recommended by my Radiation Oncologist. He, along with a Neurosurgeon, scrutinized over my multiple brain MRIs and came up with the plan that they enacted today. Both are very confident in the expected results. I’ll give you the details:

Upon meeting my new Radiation Oncologist the first time he delivered some very, very good news that instantly brought tears to mine and my Mom’s eyes. He said that other than the spots in my cerebellum that we were treating with this targeted radiation, my brain was, and I quote, “clear as a bell.” I had no idea! I thought that there were still signs of traceable cancer throughout but that is not the case. He called me a Kadcyla Superstar. Kadcyla is the injection treatment that I am on. He said he’s never seen anything like it and that looking at how well my brain responded to the Whole Brain Radiation (WBR) and the Kadcyla on top of it was like looking at a miracle. The WBR weakened my blood-brain barrier and the Kadcyla was able to get through and do its job. And it apparently did a wonderful job! Tear-worthy, right?! It really brought me back to a positive place and helped motivate me to keep pushing forward.

Today I met with my Neurosurgeon and had the targeted radiation. I had to have another stupid mask made. It was actually worse than the first mask because it went over the front and back of my head and was tighter. But I only have to have this one treatment and it ended up only taking about 20 minutes so I can’t complain. The Neurosurgeon said that he doesn’t anticipate any issues as far as my mobility and balance go; those are the primary functions of the cerebellum. But, I do have somewhat increased odds of developing something called radiation necrosis. Basically this is where the immune system goes into overdrive around where they’ve done the targeted radiation and starts killing off all the brain tissue around it; even healthy tissue. However, it can be stopped with a procedure. I would be put to sleep and he would use a laser to drill small holes in the areas where the necrosis is and essentially heat up those areas. It would likely only be a one day hospital stay. This is not to say its going to happen. It may not! But I’m glad to at least know that it is a possibility and that we are ready for it if it does happen. And, really, it wouldn’t be the worst thing. A brain procedure would suck but if the necrosis were to happen it would mean that all the cancer in that area is dead and is almost a guarantee that it could never come back there. A dark, dark cloud with a silver lining.

So now I’m home and resting. I’m on temporary steroids to ward off any headaches that the radiation could cause. And so long that I don’t have any issues between now and then, I’ll have another brain MRI in about six weeks to check on the progress. I’ll hopefully start back on Kadcyla in a couple of weeks so that I really only missed one treatment. And I’m making plans for the Fourth of July. Cancer is daunting and it’ll force me into a lot of brain games that I don’t want to play. I just have to stay focused, keep my mind right, and keep it moving.

Thanks for all of the support. It really does mean so much.

Oh, and I’ve been advised to keep the mask just in case. Its hidden in the back of my closet just like I hide the cancer in the back of my mind.

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