Friday, October 03, 2008

10/03/08 - Quick MU - Brain Tumor Update

Yesterday, I talked to a physician's assistant (PA), and a nurse that spoke with my doctors. They seemed to think that this newest "brain tumor" was not so threatening, at least not now. The PA mentioned that it's likely a form of "subependymoma disease." Well, I looked it up on the internet (not all-knowing), and subepedymoma appears to be a type of brain tumor that is slow-growing and non-cancerous. Since my previous brain tumor was a quick-growing and cancerous medulloblastoma (which doctors first assumed was an ependymoma - they were only able to correctly determine the type after getting a sample during brain surgery and performing a biopsy on it) , I would guess that the new tumor is of the same type. Although technically still considered a "brain tumor" now I think of it as a precursor (start) of new tumor. I don't know enough to think otherwise. I will certainly post an MRI of the area of concern in the near future.

As far as my treatment goes, my radiation therapy is going to remain the same and start this Monday. I can't say the same about my chemotherapy because I just don't know yet...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

10/01/08 - Quick MU - Moffitt Visit

We just got back from Moffitt Cancer Center. I had an appointment with my brain surgeon to discuss implanting the Ommaya Reservoir, which should happen just after radiation. I didn't see my normal doctor, as his flight was delayed. Anyhow, the doctor I did see discussed the Reservoir and said that my MRI (from 9/9/08) showed a small brain tumor, besides the spinal cord tumor that I already knew about. What? Brain tumor?

So, according to the MRIs and some of my doctors, I now have two tumors - one small brain tumor, and the one on my spine. News to me. I was also (and still am) shocked that my doctors didn't seem to be in "sync" about this newly found brain tumor. I was scheduled to start receiving radiation therapy at 11AM this Monday. I'd imagine that this plan would change considering my new diagnosis...

As far as treatment goes, I'm almost back to square one until my doctors are able to discuss the latest finding.

Monday, September 29, 2008

09/29/08 - Quick MU - Radiation Simulation

My actual Radiation Simulation occurred on Thursday, September 25th. During the appointment, I learned more specifics on the radiation portion of my treatment. My first treatment will be Monday, October 6th. I will receive treatments every business day (5 days/wk) for 4+ weeks. My Radiation Oncologist hasn't decided how long the treatments will be for, but the very minimum would be 4 weeks. With my permission, he is going to administer a dose that is larger than their usual guideline.

More details in a future follow-up post...

09/29/08 - Quick MU - The Plan

This treatment plan was first mentioned on my visit to Moffitt on September 23rd (I was relieved that my doctors had a plan). I will receive a course of radiation therapy first. Then I will have brain surgery to implant an Ommaya Reservoir (see diagram in "The Spread" post). Then I will have intrathecal chemotherapy (mostly confined to my brain and spinal cord (in my CSF), via the Ommaya Reservoir) for eight months. After that, treatment will end for this recurrence. Monitoring will begin again, to watch for any further signs of disease spreading.

More details in a future follow-up post...

09/29/08 - Blog Updates and Changes...

Medical Updates will have more specific titles, according to there topic. This is mainly for the previous post list to the right, so you can select a more specific article, not just "Medical Update," or "Medical Update #x. Also, Medical Update may be abbreviated "MU" for longer topics.

In general, new postings can take a long time to create, especially if they are detailed and have photos or links to other websites. They can easily take hours... To get news out on a more timely basis, I may summarize things in "Quick Medical Updates (Quick MUs), but most Quick MUs will be followed up by a detailed MU, if necessary.

On comments. They are very appreciated, even if I don't reply. My reply may also take a little while, but comments are usually read quickly as I receive an Email when one is left. So, please comment when you can...