Thursday, November 20, 2008

Another Round in the Ring

Usually when I don't write in my blog for a while, it's because everything is going so well that I don't think there's really anything interesting to note. That is the reason that you haven't seen anything from me for a while, but that is unfortunately why I am back online today.

Life in general has gone by without many bumps. Ryan did find out in September that his tumour started to grow a bit and that definitely got us worried, but we seemed to have settled into a world of him focusing on many eastern medicine remedies, taking time off of work and just living life. My health has continued to improve and that brings with it some ups and downs, but mostly I felt like we were really getting back on track.

Last Thursday I went in for my first 3 month check up at the Cancer Center and my oncologist noted that I looked perfect! I received another injection in my stomach to keep my ovaries temporarily shut down for the next 3 months and went on my way. But while I was seeing him, Ryan was down one floor getting an MRI to check on his tumour.

Of course there were 3 scenarios that Ryan and I had prepared for when we received the results on Tuesday. However, the news that we got wasn't one of them. Unfortunately his brain tumour that had started to grow a bit in September has literally exploded in growth over the past 2.5 months. For those of you that have seen Ryan recently probably are as stunned as we are. As one of his friends noted “he looks the healthiest that I’ve ever seen him!”. We were told that they would review his case at the Tumour Board (the weekly meeting with the top doctors from each different area of cancer care) and let us know what they came up with for options.

Last night the doctors called and told us the following:
· Surgery is still not an option. The risks are too great because they would be causing permanent damage to visual and speech fields and still may not get much of the area out.
· Radiotherapy (a more precise version of radiation) is still a go! He will start daily treatments as soon as they can get it planned. We are thinking in the next week or two.
· Chemotherapy is still an option post radiotherapy if Ryan wants it. This one is tricky….there are 2 drugs they want to use and 1 of them is very experimental for brain cancer. It comes with it some fairly significant unknowns and risks and some potential benefits as well, so we will entertain this option in a couple of months. The other problem is that it isn’t covered in Alberta yet because it is so experimental, so we will be working hard on many angles over the next 2 months to see what we can do to change that.

Although the situation is still really uncertain and scary, we are in a much better place today than yesterday. Not having a “plan” and “options” is never good! Today will be a day of figuring out more about the plan because Ryan was also told some other news he wasn’t so thrilled with…he can’t drive for a while! So, we will be acquainting ourselves with local transit, trying to reshuffle his appointments and getting his bike winterized – thankfully we moved to the inner city a few months back.

Life continues to throw challenges our way and we keep wondering why. The good in this scenario is that I have had 2 months to regain my strength and Ryan has had the past while to get his system ready to fight again. We now just need to further develop our plan of attack for this latest development and then get our fighting gloves on again.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Tasha,
    We can hardly believe that you and Ryan are donning the gloves again to face yet "another round in the ring". In fact, without your reassurance, we would not be able to accept that the past two months have actually given you and Ryan time to get prepared for this latest challenge in your lives. How is that possible?

    Without doubt, we are grateful that your own health has continued to improve, Tasha. Even then, it is a reality check for us to hear that your ongoing treatment includes an injection to keep your ovaries shut down for another 3 months. It seems that every day you must go on living with the threat of a recurring cancer in your own body.

    Above all, we are stunned to learn that Ryan's tumour has "exploded in growth" despite his proactive approach to healthy living. From what you say, Ryan is even looking as fit as he ever has. Now he is facing radiotherapy followed by experimental chemotherapy, (if that is what he chooses and IF he can find a way to finance it!). To add insult to injury, Ryan even has to give up driving for a while and resort to public transport or winter cycling!

    Throughout your posting we cannot help but notice your words of gratitude and hope, Tasha. Even in this "uncertain and scary" situation, you help us to see options and to cling to some very real possibilities. Please know that we are sending healing thoughts and energy your way from the time we get up in the morning until we fall asleep at night.

    The lively pink background of your home page reminds us to support cancer research and to stand behind people like you and Ryan who are in the front line, fighting this terrible disease. Talyn's painted party face is an incentive for believing that whatever we accomplish now could mean a better future for our children. He is an inspiration to us and is probably your very reason for fighting on against all odds.

    Keep it up! We and so many others like us are are still standing firmly in your corner.

    Sincere well-wishes,
    Louise and David