Great news from today’s brain scan
One month ago today, the results of my last MRI brain scan produced one of the Scariest Fridays Of My Life. Today the exact opposite happened. The very same MRI tube spit out a new man with a new concept for a casual-dining restaurant chain: Thank God It’s Monday.
Quick refresher: Besides confirming the recurrence of a malignant brain tumor, the July 30 scan showed further growth in a dangerous buildup in fluid and pressure around my brain that had my doctor so worried he wanted me to report immediately to the emergency room lest I have a seizure or stroke. I managed to talk my way out of that, but the following week I was shifted to a new bi-weekly regime combining intravenous chemotherapy called Irinotecan (CPT-11) with a companion drug called Avastin (which can starve blood supply to tumors by restricting arterial growth around them). I’ve had two of those treatments so far, and my third is set for tomorrow morning.
Quick update from today: I got the unexpected, incredibly good news that in just one month the new treatment regime has not only halted the growth of the recurrent tumor in its tracks (which is the best I was allowing myself to hope for), but has actually wiped it mostly off the map. What was a dense, 2.1-centimeter-in-diameter growth that I compared last time to a comet with a long tail showed up in today’s scan as a white, wispy sheen of barely visible light in the picture. A growth that might easily have muscled up even more to become the new Bully of my Brain now looks instead like a scrawny sissy who got beat up and left in a roadside ditch on its way home from school. That tumor is cryin’ for its Mama to come pick it up. And the fluid buildup on the outside of my brain has significantly diminished. My doctor is as happy with the results as I obviously am. Talk about happy hour. Hey bartender, mix me up another one of those nice new chemo cocktails right away.
Quick update on prognosis: The doctor says the Irinotecan/Avastin therapy looks so promising in controlling my cancer so far that he expects me to squeeze many, many more months of high-quality survival out of it. I’m set for four more of the bi-weekly infusions to take me to the end of October. After that, I’ll get another scan and based on that he may be able to scale back the dosages I’m getting (if the results are good) or switch me to one of many more alternative combinations of agents that are available (if the cancer shows signs of fighting back again). Meanwhile, on the fluid-buildup front, he expects it to diminish even more and eventually disappear with the help of yet another medication he’s throwing into the mix.
Quick update on the quirkiness of it all: I wasn’t scheduled to even get any of these results until an appointment that was initially scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. But after my doctor took a sneak peek at the scan an hour after it was completed this morning, he had his nurse call me at home immediately because he didn’t want me to have to wait even a day to hear the great news. And he even moved up my appointment a day so I could go right back in this afternoon and go over the results in detail with my sister Kathleen, who came here from Las Vegas to be with me in case this turned out to be another topsy-turvy week of medical news. Instead, it will be a week to celebrate. All the prayers and positive thoughts and energy that people are sending my way appear to be working.
Quick kicker line (courtesy of my buddy Roger Roy) about getting so much happy news from a single brain scan: “Seems like the only thing they DIDN’T tell you they found inside there today was the key to Claudia Schiffer’s apartment.”
I can’t top that. Thanks Roger, and thanks to all the rest of you who have been tracking my progress and sending me all your love and support. You’ve been with me through the rough times, so I wanted to share this good news right away.