One More Step

Today we went to Mayo Clinic for a follow up MRI scan. This was the first scan I’ve had since beginning the clinical trial chemotherapy treatments. I’ve been so nervous for today. At the very least, I knew I’d be lucky for this scan to show no changes from the scan I had in April right before the beginning of treatments. Dr. R even mentioned at the last appointment that he didn’t anticipate that we would see much change. To make things worse, I don’t have the same positive outlook I had when I was originally diagnosed nearly nine years ago. The very fact that the cancer began growing again has had me in such a funk. I just don’t have the optimism that I had in 2010. And the stats on brain cancer survival rates are terrifying. Needless to say, I really needed a confidence boost at today’s appointment.

My scan took longer than normal today. I did a lot more praying than I normally do. As I waited to be taken back for the scan I remember praying and trying to make bizarre deals with God. Like, “God if you give me a good scan today I will write about it so the world knows it was God that healed me.” I felt comfort through some of the prayers, but my skeptical side questioned all of my thoughts. Was the comfort I was experiencing just my thoughts telling me the things I wanted to hear? Or was it something else calming me? I don’t know. I asked the MRI tech to say a prayer for me or perhaps sacrifice a goat for me. She said they didn’t have any goats.

As I laid in the machine I continued praying. More deals with God. I thought about the future. I thought about what it would be like for the brain cancer to keep growing and eat away at all the thoughts, memories, and things that make me me. As the MRI contrast fluid automatically pumped into my arm halfway through the scan, I wondered if it was possible for my veins to explode from the pressure of the injection. I don’t know why I think about things like that.

Eventually, myself, Alicia, and my Dad are in an exam room waiting to see Dr. R’s assistant for the results. She walks in with a smile. She immediately announces – “Your scan looks great!” She pulls up the images on the computer for us to see. She explains that the bit of tumor left from surgery is responding great to the chemotherapy. We can barely see any tumor on the scan! She mentioned something about how they normally don’t see results like this so early in the treatment.

I didn’t hear much of anything after that. I felt like I was going to burst into tears and jump up and hug Dr. R’s assistant. We don’t know for sure if it’s the Eflornithine, the Lomustine, God, the goats, the prayers, the camping trips with Alicia and Kujo, the hugs from the ones I love, or the low-carb diet I haven’t been following. It’s all working. The tumor is shrinking (substantially), and we’re one more step closer to getting through this journey.

You can see the residual tumor shrinking in the scans above! Left side of each picture is the right side of my brain. 3/1 scan is hard to see because lots of fluid and swelling from surgery. Big change noticeable between 4/4 and 6/5. White spots lit up on bottom and right side of big black hole is cancer. Barely any lit up on 6/5 scan!

9 Comments +

  1. Your wonderful news made my morning! God is good and the power of prayer, positive thoughts, goat sacrifices and low carb good works. Keep in doing your thing, my friend. So happy for you, Alicia and Kujo. ❤️

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  2. Way to go Justin Never forget that God is good and He does answer our prayers You got this Never look back

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  3. This is such great news!!!! 👏🏼👏🏼 Let’s grab that beer when we’re home for the 4th!

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  4. Justin, so happy to hear of this great news. You are truly one amazing human being. To have gone through this horrific battle twice now and also to have received this news on the anniversary of D-Day, is evidence of the true warrior that you are. Happy to have had the honor of meeting you in person and also proud to call you family. Awesome faith you had today and you will remain in my prayers till we can claim total victory on cancer on behalf of our God and Savior. Love you buddy, keep fighting, believing and keeping your spirits lifted.

    David & Lacey McCoy

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  5. Justin –

    I am praying, as well for you so you aren’t doing that alone . Heck even would sacrifice a goat if had one 🙂

    I am living in Rochester,! so please if you or your wife need anything thing , I am here! Even if it is as simple as where to get the best no carb meal 🙂 or bring someone a coffee while y’all sit waiting for appointments ! Or a drive back and forth if someone can’t if I am in town ! Cell 507/923-7150 just keep it! For if you or your wife needs anything when visiting here. I mean it !

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