Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Warning: pictures of my brain ahead.

(just in case pictures of brains and/or tumors make you squeamish)! 

I've been trying to finish this post for days, but some medication issues have made my brain fuzzy, making writing a bit difficult. 

Anyway, the news on the MRI front is pretty good! This was my first MRI since I left the hospital in October so I wasn't sure what to expect. The surgeon initially thought she got about 90% of the tumor (which was upsetting to hear, but considering how difficult it is to remove tumors from brains, especially in the very precarious location mine was in, it was actually a positive thing). I had a MRI a few days after the surgery, but it was hard to see what was going on in that scan because there was so much swelling, fluid, etc. But word on the street back then was that perhaps she got more than she thought, maybe even everything visible to the naked eye. (Fun fact: It is impossible to remove ALL of a brain tumor because there are always cells left behind (or maybe that's just my type of tumor? I don't actually remember now). My surgeon described it as a ball of sand -- you can remove the clump but not all of the grains. That is why they don't use the word 'cure' or 'remission' in brain cancer, but only 'control'. A very difficult thing to come to terms with). So we held on to this shred hope that she had gotten nearly all of it aside from the grains.

Last Monday's MRI scan showed us what we are really working with now -- the baseline -- now that the swelling has gone down. My oncologist's exact words were: "Everything is perfectly stable," and we breathed a sigh of relief. But when he first brought up the picture of the new scan, my heart sank a little. I still saw tumor, when I was expecting, or at least hoping, to see nothing at all. But he assured me again that the surgeon did an incredible job, there was no indication that anything had changed or grown, and overall, he is still very positive about everything, feeling strongly that what we have here is a very slow-growing, low-grade cancerous tumor that probably won't do anything for a long time. So still no treatment for me. Thank God. 

Here's a picture of his computer screen: 

This is the before (pictured left) and after (pictured right) -- 'before' being the initial tumor that they found (I know, scary) and 'after' being the most recent scan. The black hole is empty space after the tumor was removed and the white, shadowy outer edge is the sliver of leftover tumor. All things considered, I am grateful. Sure, I'd like to see nothing at all in that after shot, but now I have a picture to work with. And when I am eating my heaping helpings of fresh food everyday (garlic, cabbage, onions, broccoli, etc. -- all very potent cancer-fighting foods) -- I can now picture what's there and what I am fighting against. I like to imagine the different foods and spices like big, hungry Pac-Mans, chomping through all of those bad cells! 

And now I know what to pray against, as well. And you can join me! (please? :) That little 'peel' is the sliver we are praying away, people! I would be so very thankful for your prayers.  

Weird to be talking about brains and tumors and MRIs on my blog now, isn't it? Weird. Life is unpredictable and hard. 



Anna said...

Thanks for sharing, especially the images. And then explaining what the pictures mean too. Having that visual helps me too as we keep the prayer chain going! So very thankful the docs still don't think you need treatment. Love and hugs!!

That City Girl said...

thanks, my friend! xo

Laurie and Nick said...

Katie, I have prayed for you so much and will continue to do so! Your strength amazes me. Keep fighting! Thanks for the update!
Laurie "Wilson" Monterosso

KBug said...

I just wanted to let you know (remind you?) that my dad has a "low-grade glioma" that he has had since at least 1999. That's 14 years of great living so far! I will continue to pray for your healing and for your low grade to be low grade and never growing FOREVER... Just like my wonderfully Dad's!

KBug said...

Sorry, I didn't know it wouldn't have my name... That (and this!) is from Stephanie Wilson :-)

That City Girl said...

Stephanie - I didn't realize that what your dad had was a low grade glioma! That is so encouraging so hear. I NEED to hear stories like his! So thank you :)

That City Girl said...

Thanks for the note, Laurie, and thank you SO MUCH for the prayers!!! Means so much.

Cameron VSJ said...


I have a quick question about your blog, would you mind emailing me when you get a chance?




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