Friday, December 26, 2008

New complication

I hope all of you who celebrate it had a wonderful Christmas. And those of you who don’t also had a wonderful down-day. Just a calm warm day filled with the simple pleasures of family, friends, love, and warmth.

That’s what we did: Cast aside any previous complications in our relationships with each other to enjoy dinner with both of my daughters, my ex, my ex’s girlfriend, and myself; a very congenial and caring group.

But today it’s back to reality; my reality being that I can sit or lie down for hours feeling strong and relatively pain-free, but as soon as I get up, or take a few steps, or put something in my stomach, I’m immediately winded and nauseous.

Wednesday I had yet another MRI on my neck and head; another procedure to attempt to explain some of my symptoms. Today I got the test results.

The MRI shows a tiny tumor in my cerebellum. My doctor is “concerned, but not upset” about the turn of events, since the situation is very treatable with Gamma Knife Radiation therapy, they work with a team of radiologists they regard very highly, the tumor is very small, and the size and position of this tumor explain most of my remaining symptoms.

The tumor is located in a part of the brain that controls motor coordination, motion detection, and nausea; in short, deals with equilibrium. They noticed it because, unlike the scan performed in the emergency room last week, the latest MRI contained contrast and included the whole head, not just my neck, producing a very fine-detailed picture.

I will need to consult with the radiologists early next week to schedule treatment. The procedure doesn’t require staying overnight in the hospital, but it is an all-day event, so it requires some coordination to get me to and from the hospital. Fortunately, my daughter who lives in Manhattan will be in town next week, and her apartment is conveniently located near the hospital.

I’ve entered into some scary territory.

On the one hand, there are certainly new risks involved with this new procedure. On the other, in order to restart systemic treatment for the cancer, I need to address the symptoms that are weakening me.


SeattleSusieQ said...

Thanks for keeping us all in the loop. This new treatment sounds promising - a remedy without more drugs for a change? :)

Anonymous said...

I do know something about the stereotactic radiation ... I've written an appeal for it for one of my appendix cancer friends with a recurrence.

The cyberknife technology was developed for head and neck treatments ... mainly because the head and neck are easiest to immobilize.

In the right circumstances, this type of radiation can be as effective as surgery, which is the gold standard for tumors.

There are some good cyberknife online groups to learn more about what to expect, such as I'll bet that there are Yahoo groups for it, too.

Hang in there, Ceil. It is good for people to hear the truth about the cancer journey.

Best from here,

Laurie Todd

Anonymous said...

I'm glad they have figured out the source of the symptoms you've been experiencing. Hang in there, you're in my prayers everyday.

Rick Hodder

Dan Freeman said...

You know, as scary as this territory is, at least you know the symptoms were caused by something and there's something to DO about it.

It's far preferred over "gosh, dunno what to do".

I realize that sounds a little bit "Three Stooges" but I can't figure out a way to say it better.


Anonymous said...

Sad news everyone... Ceil passed away on Jan 3rd.

She will be greatly missed!

Rick Hodder

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear the news about Ceil's passing. Reading her blog, she became a source of strength for me.