Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Calm before...

Meagan is doing really well at home recovering from the stroke. She actually had fun with her speech therapist yesterday (who works on cognitive issues as well). Probably because we discussed focusing on the things that matter most to her right now - which is all about connecting with friends. So she is practicing typing with the goal of getting back on Facebook. She has enjoyed our new schedule - can't get started too early (nothing before 10:00am) - with then either doctor visits or home therapy and then visits with friends and family. She worries a lot about me, especially when she realized she won't drive again, because she doesn't want to be a burden, but I assured her we can make any appointment happen and me driving her or she walking as far as University Village were all doable.

We see Dr. Kaplan today to discuss next steps and get a sodium check. Most important in the short term is brain radiation. I've been reading up a lot on it. They have lots of options for narrow focused radiation beam treatments. She will have to get an MRI with contrast so they can pinpoint where the remaining cancer cells and other tumor is located. But malignant brain tumors are tough beasts. Melanoma in particular can be radiation resistant. And it's almost impossible to get every cell, meaning regrowth is highly probable. Whole brain radiation is also possible, but the side effects are undesirable. So it's a tough problem, with no great answer. In the meantime her melanoma is unchecked. Somehow we have to get tumors removed as much as possible, get the brain swelling down post radiation with no new tumors emerging, so we can have a shot at Interleukin-2 - the last remaining systemic therapy that has a chance at shutting down the disease. Apparently we can't do the IL-2 until the brain inflammation is down, so that the IL-2 doesn't confuse inflamed brain tissue with the cancer.

Thankfully she is in a positive frame of mind, anxiety free and focused on her friend and the goodness around her. One of the beneficial side effects of a brain insult and surgery. But for those of us who haven't had that "happy pill", the road ahead looks daunting.

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