I have been planning for ages to return to writing in this space and feeling a bit guilty about it. I've just been really busy with other writing, volunteering, having fun and getting healthy.
Ironically, what brings me back is a return of the cancer in my brain. The letter below is an edited version of one I sent out via email earlier this week.
I am happy to have this blog. I just wish I had different news to share at this time.
Dear friends and family,
My last MRI revealed two new tumours in my brain. Both are the same area as before - the cerebellum. One is in my inner auditory canal and the other is in the cerebellum tentori (the lining separating the cerebellum from the rest of the brain). In mid-October, I began to have vertigo and an ear ache and sore throat followed later. Once ear infections were ruled out, I wasn't surprised to learn that the tumour that sits on the auditory nerve causes these symptoms.
Surgery is not on the table at this time. I'll be having Cyber Knife radiation to both spots on December 1, 3, 4 and 7. The additional dates (the last two times, I did Cyber Knife in one shot) are because the tumour in the auditory canal (IAC) is sitting on a nerve and very close to other nerves. The radiation oncologist wants to take his time and cause as few side effects as possible. Given that these can affect movement, feeling, hearing and of course the vertigo, I'm all for taking things slowly and with caution.
Tim and I have had two weeks or so to let the news sink in and we are doing OK. We spent the first few days vacillating between sadness, anger and despair (and watched a lot of Netflix) but have been much better since seeing the doctors, knowing we have a plan and that the doctors are very well informed and communicating with each other.
My medical oncologist was also telling us about various possibilities for next steps. There are some really interesting things on the horizon, in terms of crossing the blood brain barrier and viral treatment of cancer. As I said to my medical oncologist, "It's a very exciting time to have brain mets!"
I am hoping hard that by the end of 2015 the tumours are zapped to nothing and we don't have to go through this again any time soon. Here's to a healthy, bike-riding, surgery free and zap free 2016.
I hope this is reasonably clear. Please feel free to ask questions and to talk about this - the boys know and it's not a secret.
With much, much love,
The dogs in coats have nothing to do with the blog post, except that they provide distraction from a heavy message. Dogs in coats make me happy.