By this point, you’re probably wondering if we actually have a treatment plan yet…?!
The short answer is yes, but not one that’s confirmed, which is the real reason it’s taken me so long to update the blog…
What do we know?
The doctors now have the results from all this week’s tests:
- Biopsy confirms the lesions are the same as I had before, rather than new tumours |ie we’re dealing with secondary breast cancer, not brain or lung cancer).
- CT scan of my chest confirms the lung lesion has moved slightly, as a result of the partial collapse during biopsy, but isn’t growing aggressively at this point.
- PET scan of my full body shows just the two new lesions (in my brain and lung), although knowing these are a spread of the breast cancer, we can’t rule out further matestations elsewhere which could be just a single cell, too small to pick up on a scan (more on this below).
- MRI scan of my brain confirms that the lesion in my brain is growing aggressively, making this the priority for treatment asap.
What happens next?
- As my brain is the priority, tomorrow I’m being moved to the Neurology Unit at the VU (Amsterdam’s Specialist Cancer hospital).
- There, I’ll meet the Neurosurgeon in person, so they can make the right call on how best to treat me, based not only on what they see on paper, but through me as a person – my physical, emotional and mental state/strength etc.
- This treatment will then be pushed through into the earliest available slot – potentially Tuesday – but this will be confirmed tomorrow after they’ve seen me.
And what might that look like? The simple questions…!
This is the bit we don’t know yet – step 3 will depend on step 2, which depends on step 1… etc but the possibilities include:
- Brain surgery – to remove as much of the lesion as they can (unlikely all of it, as it’s too close to my motor system, but they’ll go for as much as they feel safe getting) – obviously brain surgery is a bit delicate, so whatever my mental, emotional or physical strength, on this bit I’m totally in the hands of the Neurosurgeon – let’s just hope s/he’s been on the Apple Pie rather than Genever the night before – haha!
- Brain radiation – this will likely be the next step, to zap whatever’s left of the lesion, and stop it growing again.
- Chemo – to shrink the lesion in my lung and give my body a clean sweep for any other potential matestations which may be lurking too small to show up on the PET scan. What kind of chemo I’d have will depend on the outcome of 1 and 2 above, but most likely similar to what I had last time, rather than the intensive trial.
- Lung radiation – to zap whatever is left in my lung after chemo.
- Lung surgery – this is more invasive than radiation, so they’re leaving this as a backup option for now, subject to the outcome of 1-4 above.
And how’s Boxy doing in the meantime?
I’m just fine and dandy, folks…
Sure, I’d be talking bollocks if I said that not having use of my left hand, arm and leg isn’t frustrating the hell out of me, and typing one handed is still causing me to lean over to the left uncomfortably… moving around in bed is a faff, I’m eating enough to feed an army and my daily step count has dropped to less than 100 steps a day. I’m missing running around Westerpark, Instagramming my Buurt, eating breakfast looking out over my beloved Brouwersgracht, cycling across town on Berta, collecting speeding fines in Max, eating tapas with my boys across the canal, grabbing a cheeky coconut cortado from Gerbin in Gezondigt, tormenting Glenn with moving my UP training sessions around every week and winding up the HyHo team at work with my endless Pura Vida and dress/sneaker combinations.
But I’m also conscious that this morning I walked to the bathroom (slowly) unaided… At lunchtime, the nurses unhooked my canulla so I could leave the hospital, and we went over the road to my fave cafe where I finally got the smashed avocado and poached eggs I’ve been craving since Thursday.
My (dominant) right hand/arm/leg still work and are supporting my left like siblings 🙂 The nurses are amazed by how much strength I still have in my upper arms and legs (thanks Glenn – that’ll be that 200kg leg press!) and they think I’m walking and becoming more steady again – albeit perhaps through learning to manage, rather than because my mobility is coming back. But that’s what I need to do – learn to adapt, focus on what I can influence, and leave the rest in the hands of the experts I’ll meet tomorrow.
I can still talk, breathe, think, embrace and feel grateful for the little things – far more than I ever have in my life. I can see the sun shining outside. I can make jokes about the silly things and laugh at mum and dad being mum and dad 🙂
So life is still good.
When I get to the VU and learn more tomorrow, I’ll update the blog again – might need to geek out on the detail first (as you can probably imagine, I have a long list of questions for the experts, which may take a while to plough through!) So don’t worry if nothing appears straight away.
But in the meantime, I’m still smiling, and hope you guys are too 🙂