Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dennis' Doctor's are Puzzled

Today we met with Dennis' doctor and saw his most recent MRI.  Based upon this MRI, you would expect that Dennis would have increased symptoms but instead he is walking and talking better and has more stamina.  This has his doctor, his team and the doctors he has been consulting with puzzled.

MRIs are good at showing when brain tissue is not "normal".  They are not good at identifying what is causing the abnormality.

What we know

  1. There is a larger area of his brain that appears abnormal on the MRI.
  2. A small portion of this area is very vascular.  This means there is a lot of blood supply in that area which is a sign of it being a tumor.
  3. The rest of this area is not as vascular.

What we don't know

  1. Is this area that is not vascular dead brain tissue from the radiation he had 1.5 years ago?
  2. Is this area old blood from the bleeding he had from the tumor awhile ago?
  3. Is this the pseudo progression phenomenon that happens with some treatments for brain cancer?

What is happening to sort it out

Dennis is going to be part of a trial program that will do a new type of PET scan.  This scan will help the doctors figure out what is happening.  PET scans do a much better job of identifying what is being seen than an MRI.  In order to do this, he will be going into the hospital four times next week for various tests and scans.

After the scans

If the scans show that this is anything but actual tumor growth, we will continue with the NovaCure that Dennis is currently using.  

If the scans indicate this is tumor growth, the doctor is exploring a couple of options:
  1. Re-irradiation - in the last several years the possibility of doing a second round of radiation has been developed.  Since Dennis is well past  one year since his last radiation, this is possible.
  2. Surgery followed by re-irradiation - in this case they would remove the tumor, allow some healing time and then do radiation again.  

Keep praying please

Please continue to pray for us in the days ahead.
  1. Pray for Dennis as he goes through these tests and scans.
  2. Pray for the results to show that this is not tumor growth.
  3. Pray for wisdom for our doctor, Ian Robins, and for us as we make decisions if the scans show this is tumor growth.

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