The journey of my family's struggle with a Brain Tumor. Cancer Sucks but the days continue so we must continue on as well... with a fight!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Duke Visit

Yesterday we had Todd's Duke visit and we learned more that what we planned. We knew we had some major topics of discussion to cover but we definitely got more that what we asked for. Dr. Desjardin sat with us and we went over all the positives since Todd's last visit-eyebrow movement, wiggling toes and a stable stem tumor. Then she dove right in... She said "so I guess you know about the 2 new tumors." Rewind... what??? 2??? We said no (as I can feel the tears whelping up) and she proceeded to pull the scan up on the monitor and show us that we are now dealing with TWO! I am not really sure how the Knox Dr's failed to see the second one because to me it was pretty noticeable.

So.. I think she said 2 and sure enough she did... She placed the September scan and the November scan side by side and in September there was NO evidence of new tumors. She used the words 'aggressive' and 'enhancing' in the same sentence so she meant business. Dr. D told us that with the tumors making this much of a change in 1 1/2 months that 'we' will have to act immediately.

So.. Immediately means that Todd will be having biopsy done on November 21st (2 1/2 weeks away.) He will need to be there on Sunday afternoon for 'prep' stuff, procedure on Monday and home on either Tuesday or Wednesday. She stated that they will have him up and trying to walk on Monday and he will more than likely be released. He will need to stay in the 'area' aka. hotel Monday night and depending on how he does and heals, we can come home either Tuesday or Wednesday.

I asked about the biopsy and the nurse said that it would be done by Allan Friedman who is the 'top dog' of Dukes Neurosurgery department. It will consist of them drilling a few small holes in the back of his skull and inserting a needle into the brain to retrieve the tissue cells. She said the actual procedure is done in less than an hour. From there, we should have actual results in what type of cancer we are dealing with within a day or so.

From there, he will undergo an intense chemotherapy and start radiation on the new spots. HOPEFULLY, the new radiation can be performed here. Duke is looking into who they would recommend here in Knoxville.

I failed to mention that one of the tumors is close to the brain stem (probably not removable) and the other is farther away. This one is possibly the best candidate for removal HOWEVER if they remove then treatment can't be done for 4-6 weeks. So.. the plan for now is to biopsy and treat!

There is a silver lining is all of this. Dr. Desjardins said that once we get a tissue sample, we will know exactly what we are dealing with... this includes the brain stem. She said it appears that they are all the same 'type' of tumor. With a proper diagnosis, we might be able to properly treat the brain stem area as well. Crazy to be a little bit excited but it does give us a little bit more hope!

Tyler... Tyler was anxious to hear the results. We met up with our friends who had Tyler for dinner. We told him we would talk when we got in the car. Not 30 seconds into being in the car did he ask about the scan. We paused... and explained that there were 2 more tumors, a biopsy would be done (asked if he knew what a biopsy consisted of, he did) and that Daddy would start radiation and chemo again. He asked 'adult' questions like: is this the same type of cancer as the brain stem, would daddy have to go back to Jacksonville for radiation or could it be done here and pill or IV type of chemo. Love him... I told him that I would need my crazy partner back for the next few months and that Daddy would need extra help at home-he agreed. We even put all of our hands in a 'team' pile... The 3 of us can accomplish this together! He is a trooper and I'm not sure what I would do without him!!!

I stopped by school and spoke with his Guidance Counselor this morning and she said she would stop by more frequently. She told me that for an 11 yr he is very mature for the cancer conversation. She then said for everything else, he is a crazy 11 year old, LOL....

We are so gracious of everyone who texted, called, stopped by!!! I have a list of people that I know I can call on a drop of a dime and I WILL take those of you up on dinners who offered over the next few weeks-even the frozen dinners (<---for my neighbor, Tiffany!)

I think that's it... I'm sure I'm leaving something off but I can always update later.

Thanks guys and please continue to keep us in your prayers!

The Clan...


Jenna said...

Somehow I missed your update...I am praying for you all....again, I am claiming Romans 8:28 for your family, and praying that for each difficult step that you all take, that the Lord would use it for good.