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.