Tuesday, July 10, 2007

7-7-07 = 8

This past Saturday was the 8 month post op anniversary from brain surgery. Wow! It is hard to believe to this day that I had an operation on my brain of all places. All I have to do is look into the mirror to see the reminder though.

I thought I would give you the run down of what has gone on in the last eight months.

Had hair then didn't have hair. Now have short hair and even shorter hair.
THE END.


Seriously the hair ordeal was a big hurdle for me for all of you who have been faithful to follow this whole time you already know this to be true.

Ok, here is a summary of the past eight months. It has been one BORING winter/ spring. ha ha ha! I am amazed looking at all the dates and seeing God's faithfulness unfold each time. I praise Him!

Thursday, October 19 – unusual headache began at a pain rate of 9+, not like normal migraines in the past. In the following days, headaches occurred up to 5 times a day for 10-15 minutes in duration.

October 24 – adjusted by chiropractor thinking the pain was from reverse curvature of C1 & C2.
* Pain did subside a little after adjustment.

October 25 – Dr. Stephen Sanders, my primary care physician, examined my symptoms. I did tell him that the headaches were not as intense since the adjustment. I also let him know that I didn’t fill the script for Darvicet since the headaches came on suddenly and lasted only 10 – 15 minutes in duration.

Tuesday, October 31 – intense pain in morning – called Dr. Sanders – he suggested that I have a CT scan performed in the next few days.

Wednesday, November 1 – CT scan w/ contrast at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center.

Thursday, November 2 – Dr. Sanders called to state that I needed to see neurosurgeon, Dr. Thomas Forget, immediately. No appointment needed. Dr. Forget explained that I had swelling in the right frontal lobe of my brain. He also stated that an operation was necessary to take out what is causing the swelling. He gave us a time frame of less than 3 weeks to do the operation. He also encouraged us to seek out a second opinion in the St. Louis area. List of names were given.

Friday, November 3 – MRI performed – After some consideration, my husband, Dave, & I decided to see if the "growth" was an urgent matter or could we really wait the full 3 weeks.

Friday, November 3 cont'd– Directly after MRI a consultation with Dr. Forget occurred. He stated that it looked like a tumor with teardrop shaped water under the growth. He also stated that it wasn’t urgent yet, he had Tuesday, November 7 free for surgery & encouraged me to think seriously about the surgery. He did say that I could NOT wait till after Christmas or he would not continue to be my neurosurgeon.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006 – Craniotomy for resection of brain tumor on right frontal lobe surgery. Stealth MRI performed prior to surgery.

Thursday, November 9 – MRI performed to see post-op results.

Saturday, November 11 – discharged from St. John’s Mercy Medical Center.

Thursday, November 16 – staples in head removed by Dr. Forget.

Friday, November 17 – consulted with hematologist / oncologist, Dr. Leonard White. No confirmed second report from Barnes – Jewish (St. Louis) pathology. After visit with Dr. White, it was decided that a second opinion oncologist would be necessary.

Wednesday, November 22 – visit with Dr. Gerald Linette, oncologist with a brain tumor specialty, of Washington University Physicans (Siteman Cancer Center – Barnes Hospital). He explained the tumor pathology report in detail. He encouraged us to go to MD Anderson for a second opinion of possible treatment options. Report from Barnes showed anaplastic oligoastrocytoma with limited gene markers.
Dr. Linette’s suggested treatment plan: Start in 2 weeks
140 mg. Temodar daily for 6 weeks with simultaneous radiation therapy M-F for 6 weeks
Break for 3 weeks
Continue with Temodar at a double dosage 5 days a week on a 28 day cycle for 1 year
MRI scans every 3 months

December 5 – Dr. WK Alfred Yung (MD Anderson – Houston) did a neurological exam & stated tumor was anaplastic astrocytoma not oligoastrocytoma. His treatment plan differed from Dr. Linette.
XRT alone wait (rest) period of 3 wks. Temodar 380 mg for 1-2 years

December 14 – MRI at Barnes for RT set up purposes mainly

December 27 – started RT 54 Gy (IMRT) with 140 mg Temodar – Dr. Joseph Simpson overseeing RT

Discontinued Temodar after 7 days into RT due to personal choice – approved by both Dr. Linette and Dr. Simpson

February 9, 2007 – completed 30 Radiation treatments (RT) - PARTY DAY!

March 2 – first MRI with contrast since RT. No visible signs of growth, cavity bed is smaller and rim around bed is brighter.

March 14 – follow up with Dr. Linette and Dr. Simpson
Dr. Linette suggested a MRI in one month (April 11) then in two months (June) afterwards a MRI should be every 3 months indefinitly. He is fine with waiting till the growth appears to start the Temodar.

March 22 – consultation with Dr. Burton Needles, St. Johns Cancer Care Center

April 11 – MRI scan at Siteman – Scan is clear!

June 11 – MRI scan at St. Johns off site

June 13 – Dr. Needles reports scan is clear! compared to 11/9/06

June 25 – Consultation with radiation oncologist, Dr. Julie Mai, St. Johns Cancer Care Center

June 26 – Baseline Eye Exam performed by Dr. Bruce Cohen of Siteman / St. Lukes

September 11, 2007 - MRI to be performed through St. John’s

I still to this day have soreness at the site of the radiation / surgery. I cannot sleep with my head leaning on the pillow. The eye exam showed no signs of radiation damage. I am thankful for many things. One of which is the loving support of my husband. He is dynamo.

I feel better today minus the soreness than I ever have. I attribute it all to God. I am sure my change in diet and all the non conventional pills that I take have also helped.

My life has been altered forever since having been diagnosed with brain cancer. It was a much needed change. God is good even in the refinement. Continue to pray for 50 years of living cancer free. - Kate

4 comments:

Especially Heather said...

Yay Kate!! My biggest hurdle has been my hair loss too, but I keep reminding myself that it is a small price to pay, given the circumstances.

Thank you for all of your help, it really has helped me tremendously. I have followed your list, and can tell a real difference :)

Heres to us being here 50 years from now :)

Gram said...

No wonder I was weary from November to February watching Kate. So much transpired during that time. Life altering events.
Good to see the boys pilled high on Pop Pop from Indiana. Better him than the Missouri Grandparents. I always knew they made Indiana grandparents hardy for the sake of little boys.
Gram is enjoying summer. My cosmos flowers are blooming in the front of Great Grandpa's house. The meals on wheels ladies love those flowers. This year they came up volumtarly.
Summer time book: Safely Home by Randy Alcorn A novel about China.
And if I have to see another zuchinni I think I shall drop.
And now Aunt Dee Dee has decided to save our health care system. I'm all ears dear.
My favorite part of summer. Watching four grandsons this week have such a great time in the pool.
Summertime fun.
Gram over and out.

Anonymous said...

Kate,

Isn't it so amazing that after all you have endured, you are able to say that you now feel better than you ever have, minus the soreness on your head!

Lately I have been praying Psalm 86 a lot, especially the verse "Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness." God's ways are so hard to understand sometimes, but truly He is faithful.

Erika

Anonymous said...

Kate...

It has been a true joy to walk, pray, cry etc. etc. with you and your precious family the last eight months. Hope little Stewart is feeling better...We missed seeing him today!

Meredith