Dear dear friends,
Pam and I are just now back in the house after a long day of hospital appointments at Dana Farber and Brigham & Women’s. Big day today! The day we’d been looking for, and waiting for, and praying about and dreading all at once. Today Pam had (yet another) MRI test, and Dr. Lee read the results to us.
The thing about MRI tests, as Dr. Lee explained to us, is that it’s easy to determine when something is changing, but it’s not possible to be 100% sure what that change actually is.
“We’re seeing some growth,” she said, “a tiny, little bit of expansion around the site where Dr. Johnson performed your surgery; but that’s not saying we’re necessarily seeing tumor growth.”
“Sometimes,” she continued, “what looks like growth is really nothing more than some swelling that still might be going on as an after-effect from your radiation treatment. Sometimes, since the surgical site tends to contract with time, we see a build up of tissue around the border, right here, due to the way things are shifting around. So, we can’t say for certain what’s going on.”
“Our protocols require us to measure whatever image we see and compare it to the baseline MRI we took in early November, right after you finished radiation. Then you had another MRI at the end of December and another one, of course, today. There was a little bit of expansion in December and a tiny bit more here; but, like I said, we can’t be certain what we’re looking at.”
“The good news is that the total expansion of the image is still less than 25%, so you’re still eligible to continue with your clinical trial of SAHA.”
“Since I’m a bit of a numbers guy,” I said to Dr. Lee, “I wonder if you could tell me what percent growth you measured today.”
“I’d say about 5% from four weeks ago”
“And” I asked, “when you measure the MRI four weeks ago how much growth from baseline were you able to detect.”
“So, today’s report is 20% growth, still less than the twenty-five that stops the clinical trial, so we’re still good.”
“We’re still good.”
Then Pam asked Dr. Lee if there was going to be tumor growth eventually.
“Maybe not for a long, long time; but, you know, eventually…”
“Eventually my cancer is going to come back?”
“Maybe not for a long time, and maybe when we look at the results in a month the swelling will be less. We just have to wait.”
And, that’s the story. We just have to wait.
So, three requests:
1) Pray. Pray for all of us. Pray for Pam, and for Angelique, and for me. That’s important — please pray.
2) Please understand that we don’t know any more than what you just read. You will realize, I’m sure, that we’ll be very happy if you don’t ask questions we can’t answer.
3) If you know somebody who knows Pam and cares about Pam, tell them about the result yourself. It would be awful to keep telling the same story over and over.
So, we have to wait; but while we’re waiting we’re going to be driving around in a car with new ‘Conquer Cancer’ plates. Direct from the RMV thanks to the amazing Jeanne Woodin, of Howe’s Insurance in Arlington, best agent in the galaxy. (Now, Jeanne, about this year’s rates….)
Cancer don’t stand a chance!
Peace and Love,