It has been an up and down few years. Today I met with my oncologist and received the official results from Monday's MRI. Significant improvement! was the verbal news I first received a few days ago. After digging into the report and after reading these things for years, I can pull out the key specifics and a more complete interpretation: The improvement is across the board in all the measurements my docs talk about: (Mass, or response of the lower grade bulk; Enhancement, or response of the higher grade areas, and T2 Signal Abnormality, unsure exactly what this is, possibly how abnormal I really am - it is an important measure to them.) There was what I would call a bonus in there, described as a "cyst-like necrosis...". Probed a little and asked to put in English, he said "tumor dying." That's good.
I have never seen a report like this, at least not since 2003. We have been happy for at least 4 years with a report that simply said "stable".
We have truly been blessed. I owe so much to my primary oncologist in MN Dr. John Schwerkoske, my oncologist at the Mayo Dr. Tim Moynihan, and my oncologist at MD Anderson Dr. Mark Gilbert for coming up with this innovative chemotherapy regimen. I do not believe many people are on it, but I am certain more will be in the future. I have more ammunition for the insurance company to get coverage for Avastin. It costs a lot of Madones (for my non - bike racing friends, very expensive bikes).
After all this I still have had a sad and sobering week after learning that a man I got to know this past year with a very similar tumor diagnosis, timeline and treatment history has just abandoned further treatment and begun hospice. Say a prayer for Pat and his family, especially his two young boys. I have so many reasons to be hopeful but need to keep vigilant on this treatment course. My bloodwork was down today so they have delayed round 3 of CCNU to next week. They did allow me to get my Avastin infusion today. The week began with discussions about not starting the next round of Procarbazine until March 7th. I do not need a 2 week delay. These drugs are not going to do me any good sitting in a bottle. The plan now is to hold off Procarbazine only until we are back from taking Max to MN Twins spring training next week, only a 4 day delay. We also discussed length of treatment today for the first time, and that was sobering. P&C, goal of 8 rounds, A, basically forever. Funny, but this did not phase me.
This week's news helped keep everything in perspective. It was easy shivering outside with Max last night watching the lunar eclipse, counting my blessings that I could. I had unlimited patience even after he asked for the third time how I knew aliens were not involved.
I am very fortunate to have a great group of friends and fellow travelers in my life like all of you. Good night.