A fair bit of news to share since the last blog post. Thank you for all your positive encouragement through what has been a difficult phase. While I was to some extent prepared for the possible physical effects of the radiosurgery, I don't think I really had any inkling of what it was likely to do to my mind and emotions to have massive amounts of radiation fired into my brain. That's been something of a roller coaster, so thanks for staying with me through it..
When I last wrote, I was about to go to for a consultation with the surgeon who had agreed to look at operating on the primary tumour in my lung. While part of me was keen to do anything to get the primary cancer removed, I had a number of questions about this. Surgery isn't usually thought to be the best course of action for cancers that have developed secondaries like the ones in my brain; Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy are generally thought to be less invasive and risky, if not necessarily quite so ruthlessly effective. However, by the time I reached the consultation, there was new evidence to factor in to the equation. The biopsy on my lung tumour had been sent off for analysis, and had turned out to be a rare genetic mutation that would respond well to one of the new cancer drugs. This was now being proposed as a better first line of treatment for my lung. If any new secondaries were forming, it would also treat them, unlike the surgical option, and it was less harsh and more effective than chemo. So - I began the first round of treatment last week - one simple pill to take at home daily. Meantime, I have been coming off the steroids which have been used to treat the swelling in my brain. So for the last week it has been the war of the side effects; not quite knowing what is being caused by the cancer drug, and what is being caused by the steroid cold turkey.
I know I'm very sleepy; that my right side is struggling again with numbness and my brain is struggling to find words when I try to write. I know my hair is coming out, and my skin is coming up in a rash. I know my swollen face aches as though it's full of dental anaesthetic that's wearing off. But as yet, no nausea, throwing up or diarrhoea - so it could be a lot worse! And I have had some treats this week to be thankful for. I spent the weekend in the kitchen baking, which was hugely satisfying. I joined in with an Iona Big Sing on Sunday afternoon at church, which was socially pretty tiring but very enjoyable. I had my first 'Keep Fit for Old Gits' class taught by the fabulous Linda Page which felt brilliant. I'm managing to walk the dog most days.
And best of all, now I'm not waiting for surgery, we can begin to plan for the next few weeks and months. A couple of short trips away. The concert we'd booked for my birthday. Treats not just for me but for Mike too, who so deserves a break.
The inside of my brain may well have become a scary place, but the sunlight continues to break in. All in all, the world is still good