Monday, December 10, 2007

Last Friday

We met with Dr. Campbell last Friday at Cancer Centers of NC. She took a lot of time with us, which really put us at ease. She didn't share anything earth-shattering - most of the "news" we already knew. Unfortunately, she didn't have all of the reports from all of Chad's physicians, or the pathology report for Johns Hopkins. We hope she'll have everything the next time we meet on December 21.

Chad will be starting chemo soon - in pill form. He will be taking it on 5-day cycles every 28 days. That's the "easy" part. We're told most people tolerate this medication very well, and he may not even need anti-nausea medications.
He will start chemo soon - as soon as insurance will allow us, that is. It's pretty pricey treatment, and not covered by BCBS at this time, so Dr. Campbell is going to fight that fight for us. (Which is a good thing, trust me. We're growing quite weary of talking to Blue Cross about every little thing...)

The tricky part, though, is the radiation therapy. Due to the size & location of the tumors, we have tough some decisions to make. Will it be best to use whole-brain radiation? Or should we try to use the Gamma Knife? Should we opt for a more focused radiation treatment on the individual tumor(s)?
Anaplastic Astrocytoma is characterized by a star-shape, with "fingers" that extend past the core part of the tumor & infiltrate other parts of the brain. If we were to use the Gamma Knife, it's quite possible that the radiologist would miss some of these fronds - and they could spontaneously produce another tumor - even if we get the current one in check.
The same is true if we use a focused radiation treatment. If we just treatment one of the tumors directly, we could miss something.
So, we're thinking that our best option at the moment is to treat the whole brain. Of course there are issues with this option as well. Radiation is not to be taken lightly - Chad could have serious complications a few years from now. No one can know how it will affect him in the long-term.

So, we wait some more. We meet with the radiation oncologist this Thursday. We should be able to make a decision then, and should have a start date for treatment.

The good news is that Chad feels great - he's actually working from home starting this week. He plans to try running maybe tomorrow - after his 3-week check-up with the neurologist (tomorrow morning at 9:45).

Thanks again, so much, for all of your continued support, prayers & concern. We'll keep you posted!


Anonymous said...

We know what you mean about fighting with Insurance companies. We have the same insurance and it seems as if we are always on the phone (on hold)with them.We are so glad Chad is feeling good and hope he does well with his chemo. We wish you both had an easier time ahead of you but we will continue praying for all the strength and comfort you will need.Know we love you all!
AuntCarmen & Uncle Robby

Linda said...

Thank you so much for the update. You are continually in my thoughts and prayers...

Meg said...

Thanks for updating, Skye. I think about you all the time. I will keep you in my prayers as you work through these big decisions. I'm so glad to hear that Chad is feeling so well!

Christine said...

I am so glad to hear that Chad is feeling well!! Insurance is such a PITA when you really need them to be good with a PITA at well checks, not when you have everything else to with! I am glad that the dr is helping you fight that battle!!! HUGS, prayers and pt's!!!

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Thinking of you and your family during this holiday season. You are an amazing woman. Thanks for keeping us in blogland up to date.