brain mets, ct, metastases, MRI, not-so-good news, radiation, scans, treatment
Sorry I left you all hanging with the PET scan hinting at stuff in my brain. I had the follow up MRI, and unfortunately it did confirm five metastases in my brain. Last week was a blur of follow up appointments with the radiation oncologist and specialized MRIs and CT scans. The radiation oncologist recommended doing SRS, or targeted radiation, but said that if I had had even one more lesion, he would have recommended whole brain radiation. I was very happy we could do the targeted radiation and Peter and I felt much better about that than we did the whole brain option. No real science-based reasons, just the concern that it might affect my cognition more than targeted radiation, and negative cognitive effects would likely affect my quality of life more than most physical ones.
So. We were waiting all last week to hear when we might schedule the radiation. We kept waiting until today, when I got a call from the radiation oncologist. Very unfortunately, it turns out that they saw another very small tumor appear on the most recent scans, so targeted radiation is now off.
I’m scheduled to start whole brain radiation tomorrow, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all. It kind of sounded like the fatigue and nausea might be slightly less this route, but the real bummer is that I will lose all of my hair. Well, actually, the REAL bummer is that there is a 2/3 chance of this either shrinking the tumors or keeping them the same. The Keytruda can’t work on them because our body has this awesome blood-brain barrier that won’t let most chemicals cross into the brain. Great for avoiding brain poisoning, but not so good if you are trying to treat the brain with medicine.
Radiation will be every day for 2 full weeks (it’ll end up being more like 3 weeks because of timing, but 10 days, all in all). Side effects should kick in about a week after the treatment, and could last a while. It sounds like the doctor didn’t think I would have too many cognitive side effects, other than some fogginess. I still am a bit worried about that, but I don’t want it to interfere with our summer travel plans, if at all possible. There are so many things I still need to do, like to go San Francisco!
Please, please feel free to ramp up the thoughts and prayers that this stuff works. I would really like some good news at some point!
Netty Martinez said:
(((((prayers ramped up on maximum overdrive)))
(((((((Shannon))))) ((((((kicking ass))))
((((LOVE AND SUPER-LIGHT)))) (((SHANNON)))
(((EMMIE)))) (((PETER)))) (((MIRACLES)))
(((SAN FRANCISCO))) (((HEALING))))
((((((((((((GOOD NEWS)))))))))))) (((((faith))))))
TBC ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ Shannon
Marla Gadsby said:
Ramping up prayers for a remarkable woman and her family. May the arms of our Lord hold you tight and safe during and after this new procedure, the radiation zap the cancer fully and continue to give you more time with your loved ones. San Francisco here you come.
Rob Hill said:
We love you so much Shannon. We’ll pray for you.
Irene Bender said:
Shannon and family, this morning in Minnesotait is raining and everything is shades of green. Tomorrow the sun will shine. My prayers are that you too will receive the rain and sunshine in this battle that you are so bravely living.
Irene Bender, Stephanie’s mother
Eliza Klinger said:
We’ll be keeping you in our thoughts over the next couple weeks!
Carmen Melton said:
You are remarkable and brave and so strong, and you are surrounded by love and prayers of infinite proportions!
Sarah S. said:
Sending you love and juju for radiation that works and travels that are amazing!
Diane & Todd xoxoxo said:
You WILL be at Pier 39 in just a little bit. I smell the fishies now and they’re calling your name!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lisa-Pat & Paul's "daughter" said:
Our very best wishes for a smooth and effective treatment. You have such a strong spirit, you are an inspiration for living each day as the treasure that it is.
It’s Ghiradelli Square calling your name …and they used to have a fabulous hat shop there. You can get something for your beautiful head. I got a toaster hat there one time. It actually looked like a toaster with the plug hanging down. I wore it at graduations to toast the graduates.
I love you,
Angie Connor said:
Sending love and prayers your way lady!!!
Pete & Karen Greider said:
Shannon and Peter:
We’re very sorry to hear this news. Hopefully by the time you go to SF, you’ll be past the side effects. We’re sending TONS of good thoughts and prayers from Virginia to the two of you and Emmie. In 2 weeks, this radiation will be over! We’ll look for updates on your blog. Your writing is incredible.
Kristen Blomgren said:
Always thinking about you!!! Lots of hugs and Love!!