This post is #147 in a year-long series ... Through this series of posts I plan to share our family's experiences during our 17-year-old daughter's year-long battle with brain cancer, which began in February of 2008. My desire is to process through the events of that year from the perspective that a decade of time has brought ... for myself, really. But if you'd like to follow along, you're welcome to join me.
December 15, 2008
For several days, the weatherman had been predicting a nasty ice storm on Monday. In Arkansas, that means everyone runs to the store to stock up on bread and milk in case they're stuck at home for a few days. We all charge up our electronics and make sure we have dry firewood, as electric power will most likely be lost. Kids rejoice at the prospect of school cancellations and teachers look forward to a few days off in their pajama pants.
But today was the day Hannah would finally be starting her long-postponed chemotherapy treatments, and a little ice was not going to keep us away! We were anxious to find out when her new MRI would be scheduled so we could get some answers to the increased nausea and headaches she was experiencing. Our appointment at Children's Hospital was at 9:45 that morning, and we were hopeful for an uneventful chemo infusion so we could be back home in front of the fireplace before the bad weather really set in.
But when we arrived, things took an unexpected turn. I sent out a quick email from the waiting room that morning.
We are sitting in the waiting room at Arkansas Children's Hospital waiting for our appointment, and our specialty nurse just came out and told us that there was an MRI cancellation today ... so, Hannah will be getting her MRI at 1:00 today. I'm not sure what this does to our plan to start chemo today ... we will keep you all posted as the day unfolds. Please join us in praying for a good scan ...
God is good, all the time!
Jill and Brad
Gasp! As glad as I was to be getting this MRI done, the suddenness of it knocked the breath out of me for a bit. We usually had some time to psych ourselves up for these things ... and now we were about to have one in just a few hours! We were fully aware that this MRI could indicate a potential death sentence for Hannah ... or an undetermined number of weeks, months, or maybe years of extended life.
My email from 5:00 that evening details the results of the MRI. We were greatly relieved by the overall good report, even though we still didn't really have an answer for the increased symptoms she was experiencing. We were also pleased that Hannah's chemo treatments would finally be starting that week regardless of her platelet status. We were so ready to move forward on that.
What we didn't know at the time (and I'm glad we didn't) was the significance of the "very faint stuff" in the area of the original tumor ...
After a very long day, we were finally able to meet with our oncologist a few minutes ago and he showed us today's brain scan compared to the one done in September. He was really pleased with how it looked. The two large tumors in the brainstem area are much smaller and less bright than they were. There was some very faint stuff that showed up in the area of the original tumor, in the area of her brain that could not be re-radiated. He says the chemo should take care of that. There is no sign of brain swelling, so that is really good, too. We do not have the spine scan results yet, and I'm guessing we won't see those until Wednesday, when we will be returning.
They are about to start giving her platelets now (they were at 30,000) and are not going to do the Avastin (chemo) until Wednesday. He says that while we are doing the Avastin, she will probably need to have platelet transfusions three times a week to prevent any possible bleeding, which is a potential side effect of Avastin. So ... all in all, good MRI results so far and we will be starting chemo on Wednesday. Thank you so much for your prayers for us today ... please pray that the Avastin will cause these tumors to shrivel up and disappear! It looks as though we will be traveling home after dark tonight in the midst of a sleet and ice storm, so please pray for traveling safety after this long day as well.
We are very thankful for a good report today, and so relieved to have another MRI behind us. Thank you so much for walking this journey with us and holding us up in your prayers. God is good, all the time!
Jill and Brad