It's been a busy couple of weeks since the seizures a fortnight ago. Detailed scans followed by a long and helpful time with my consultant on Friday.
The scans have revealed two things:
First, the stereotactic radiosurgery on the 2 adjacent brain tumours back in April has killed the central tissue. It has not, however, killed the tissue around the tumour edges. Therefore the swelling around the larger tumour, which causes the ‘stroke like’ symptoms on language, use of her right side, exhaustion, loss of balance etc, has become worse. More steroids needed to contain it.
Second, and most daunting, the detailed scans have revealed that in the last few weeks a number of new tumours have become detectable scattered in various parts of the brain. Our consultant showed us four that could be clearly seen, and there are likely to be more seeding. The important thing to absorb is that we can’t tackle this sort of spread in the same way. It's a bit like Splat the Rat. We have now moved into a phase where radical action on a single target area to contain or even cure is no longer possible.
One thing it helped me enormously to know was that by exercising my brain and body within what instinct tells me are achievable limits, I will not make anything worse. This isn’t like the swelling on an external wound which can be aggravated by activity. So if I feel like doing something I can try it. However, it will be impossible to know what I will feel like doing until I'm in the moment.
This will make planning this next phase much more challenging, especially regarding response to everyone's kindness. Every visit is going to have to be conditional. We won’t be able to have anyone to stay for the immediate future. I might be manically typing away on the blog or on Facebook one day, then go into radio silence for a fortnight. And, as Mike and the kids have a daunting burden now to carry, they may also go unresponsive for a bit. The important thing is you know that are we feeling well cared for medically, that we have a local team of friends and community who are loving and looking after us practically, and if we want anything we will be not be afraid to ask. We will love to receive any messages, so long as you understand that we may not be able to answer them.
I know one or two people have asked questions about the detail of what is happening to my brain. If you're interested, these'd be my top recommendations.
For medical questions, I think the clearest website is the Roy Castle Lung Foundation one. Good fact sheets.What I have is lung cancer which has metastasised (spread) to the brain.
As to what it actually feels like in my head at the moment, if you can cope with a challenging read, I recommend The Iceberg by Marion Coutts. Her partner, the art critic and writer Tom Lubbock, had a brain tumour exactly where my large one is - in the 'language centre' of the brain. Extract here http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/15/marion-coutts-tom-lubbock-iceberg-extract. Tough read but it has helped me more than any other book I think.
Enough for now. Thank you for being with us. More soon hopefully.