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.