Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Will this be the future?

My friend Grim sent me a link to an interesting talk addressing mutated genes and cancer, in particular brain cancer. Check it out!

A little clarity goes a long way

Yesterday was my appointment with Dr. Berger and Dr. Butowski. Based on the typical busy schedules, I ended up meeting with both of them simultaneously. It actually turned out to be very efficient and helpful. I had already developed a list of questions to alleviate my stress, and their responses were about as good as I could hope for, given my current situation. There is still a chance it might not be a tumor, and the odds could be as good as 50/50 on that front. If it is a tumor it's still very small, posing little risk to letting it go until the next MRI in December. If the MRI shows significant growth, then surgery can still be performed and it is still likely (though not guaranteed) that I could remain on the current clinical trial. I also feel less frustrated with "the system" after hearing them explain why it was not removed during the last surgery. It was not an unfortunate result of poor communication, but was primarily a more standard approach from an expert surgeon. Don't cut things out that aren't clearly tumors and/or clearly safe to attack. If you do, you are opening a world of hell.

So after all that, I'm heading home to see "The Fam" for Thanksgiving with a much better feeling overall. Happy Turkey Day!

(And thanks again Kate for coming along to help advocate!)

Friday, November 18, 2011


Latest ruling on Avastin for breast cancer. Any implications for glioblastoma?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why I might be a little nervous

Hear are the images showing what seems to me is another tumor.
MRI back in early September
Post-surgery MRI showing growth in area nearby choroid plexus

Most recent MRI showing further growth (?) of same area.
 Is it a tumor? Sure looks like one in this sequence of images. I'll be meeting with Dr. Berger on Monday, and after that getting another MRI in early December if I'm not already so scared into thinking I need to do something sooner.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Just as I'm starting to climb...

...brain cancer starts to knock me back down.

Today's MRI wasn't the best news. If you recall my worrisome post in early October, there was something discovered post-surgery. That "something" looked slightly larger today, increasing concern that there might be yet another recurrence. Internally it produced a level of frustration I haven't felt since my battle with Kaiser. How could there be a tumor visible in the pre-surgery MRI that wasn't detected soon enough to be removed during surgery? Where was the communication between the surgeons, the oncologists, and the radiation team? Most frustrating is that just as I was starting to get back into the life I love, after playing my first ultimate game, starting to exercise, and seeing the swelling finally disappear permanently; after basically one day of normalcy, it looks like I might be set back to Square 1.

I am still trying to get second opinions from Cedars-Sinai. Unfortunately, at UCSF Dr. Berger is awfully difficult to reach, and the timing couldn't have been worse as everyone seems to be out right now. Hopefully I will get some opinions as to whether this is "something" to continue watching or to extract immediately. Either way, I think it's time to start looking for the next treatment, since the others have all worked so well.