Friday, May 29, 2009

Fortified by Coffee and a Muffin

Lou and I met with the spinal surgeon first thing Thursday morning, and he showed us a printout from the MRI. The tumor in the psoas is actually 4cm, not 2cm. But don't worry, it did not double in size in the last week! It is just that different diagnostic tools show different details.

The spinal surgeon said that he thought 4cm might be too large for CyberKnife, so he explained at great length how he could operate. But it would be a long recovery (eight weeks) and he could not get it all out.

So then Lou and I went to the coffee shop and talked about regular surgery vs CyberKnife. Our heads were spinning a bit. Every test reveals new information and radically changes the proposed solution...

Fortified by coffee and a muffin, off we went to see the CyberKnife doctor. We sat around for a long time while the oncologist, spinal surgeon, and CyberKnife doctor conferred via telephone in another room. I read aloud to Lou from an old copy of Men's Health magazine, which is quite hysterical and interesting and not at all like Better Homes and Gardens.

Anyway, the upshot is that CyberKnife can indeed handle the 4cm tumor. It is a little large, but they have successfuly treated tumors as large as 15cm. The MRI was very helpful and worth 70 minutes and an achy shoulder. We talked about the risks of radiation, which unfortunately do not include glowing in the dark. We decided to go ahead with the CyberKnife instead of regular surgery. (We can always do regular surgery later if we need to.)

CyberKnife starts on Thursday, June 4!

I had another CT scan right away. That data will be fed into the computer so they can plan all the beams. The treatment will be split into five days because we want a really high dose for the leiomyosarcoma.

The interesting thing is that the radiation will mess up the cells so that they can no longer divide and grow, but it takes weeks or months for the cells to actually die. It's like spraying Roundup on your lawn; the weeds don't keel over right away.


Anonymous said...

Hi Karen, You have been through a whole lot this week and I hope that you and Lou have a really nice and relaxing weekend planned for yourselves. It was terrific to talk with you yesterday and you are the greatest inspiration. We have birthday night here tonight, and then tomorrow are having dinner with Hanneke and Jan before she speaks for her 20th. All of us send our love and prayers and I will be talking with you soon.

Love, Debbie P.
(Debbie and Jim)

Yesterday was our 11th anniversary, Yea!

omerandpat said...

Hi Sweetie:
You are terrific. Only you could compare your problems to Roundup!
Love ya,
Mom and Dad

Anonymous said...

WOW, I want to know what type of coffee and muffin you had--you not only absorbed all the mumbo jumbo but had a positive spin on it to boot!!!! That proves you are not a grumpy person and rest assured there are some real grumps out there--misery loves company but great to say you are NOT one of them and never have been. So keep on smiling; hugs and kisses Mrs. S.

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen,

You know Frog and Toad's Wild ride? You start in one direction, zig zag in another, and spin completely around -- all at about 100 mph. I feel like you've been on that ride for the last few weeks, but you're handling it with amazing humor and grace. I'm proud of you!

Just hang on, and let us know what we can do for you while your folks are away. Hugs to you,


Brian said...

Hi Karen,

Brian, Will and I want you to know you are in our thoughts. Let us know what we can do for you. We are here for you.

The Beasley's

Anonymous said...

Roundup!?!! What a hoot!
You are the best! What a testament to what the Big Guy can help you do!

Let me know how I can help... I can give you ride or bring supper...

Hope your movie night was a success...I'll call later and hopefully we can catch up some more....

Good Luck on Thurs!
Love Ya!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that they are able to do the cyberknife. This sounds like the best option to start off with. If you need my help getting to and from the treatments, let me know.
Love ya,
Carol P.

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