I'm writing to you from my home in Detroit. It feels great to be home
even just for the weekend (Lucy 9th birthday!).
Here's a quick update. My first week of treatment in Tennessee has been
good. Bill and I both like the doctor a lot and his staff too. He ordered
another MRI since it had been three weeks since the last one -- the
cavity from the tumor removal is smaller, there is still an enhanced
area around the cavity that could be either tumor growth or more likely
the formation of tissue which will eventually be scar tissue. There
is one bit of enhancement that now spans from the cavity across the
midline of my brain. I'm inclined to think it's nothing (MRIs measure
moisture and they are apparently hard to read); Bill is worried about
it. The doctor says we have to assume there is cancerous activity even
growth that doesn't show on the MRI and be aggressive.
On Tuesday I had my first treatment. I had a catheter installed under
my collar bone on the right side with two tubes that dangle from it.
I sat beside a nice new looking machine and got the tubes hooked up
to it. One draws my blood out; the other replaces my filtered blood
along with saline solution and, I think, plasma. Afterwards patients
tend to sit in recovery for an hour or two before leaving either on
foot or in a wheelchair. I've done both.
Tuesday was the most dramatic (and frightening) day. I passed out four
times! My blood pressure got so low that if they lowered my feet to
the floor in a sitting position I would lose consciousness. I was the
very last patient allowed out at 7 p.m. Now they are doing a few things
differently and I am too (like eating a high protein breakfast). I've
stayed conscious, but it's becoming clear that I won't be dancing the
two step at any country bars!
What we're ultimately hoping for, I believe, is for the treatment to
inflame my tumor remnants and for me to get a fever ˆ they say 103 is
no big deal and 105 is just fine. (They do provide the home phone numbers
of the head nurse and the doctor too.) When it's clear that I am reacting
to the treatment, the doctor plans to flush my system with a chemo ingredient
(a one shot dose) that's supposed to give the tumor a double-whammy.
I assume I'll get laid low by that, but soon after I'll be considered
finished and get to go home. Quite likely all that will happen in the
third week, but there's really no way to know for sure. (Most recently
the doctor said, "Oh no, if you can through this with no headaches
and not even a low fever, that's great." So I'm a little confused.
But I'm grateful that I really like the doctor and his whole staff,
so I'm content not to think too hard and to trust their interpretation
of what happens. This was what we didn't have at Ford hospital -- we
felt a compulsion to always think which was exhausting.)
We'll stay in touch. I'm at the Mainstay Suites, 107 Brentwood Avenue,
Brentwood, TN 37027. I can get email at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Bill is home in Detroit with the girls this
coming week and the next. I have my best friend from pre-school with
me and then my oldest sister for the last week, so I am in good hands
all the way around.
Thanks for your continuing love, prayers and support. It means everything.
(Bill, Lydia and Lucy)