This past Friday Anna went in for an unplanned MRI. She was having some symptoms that concerned her doctor. The breast cancer in Anna’s brain has grown exponentially. The three most recent tumours that had shrunk initially after whole brain radiation have grown again, along with the initial tumour from last January when she had the craniotomy. The tumours are focused in the left temporal lobe causing extensive edema (swelling) which has led to her most recent symptoms of nausea and head aches.
She has started back on steroids, which will help control the swelling and should relieve the symptoms. If you have been following her over the last year you will recall that steroids cause her blood sugars to spike. This means she will likely be back on insulin.
After discussing her options with her medical team. Her treatment is somewhat limited based on the tumours sizes, locations, type, and overall aggressiveness of her cancer. In order to extend her life while balancing the quality she will be doing another round of whole brain radiation (WBR). Baring any miracle, we are talking about months versus years.
Anna is taking this news hard. We all are. Even though we understand the realities of metastatic disease and truths about survival rates and treatment options; nothing can prepare you for the real conversation of how much time you have left. Months versus years. This isn’t what we wanted to hear. I don’t want to be misunderstood as being hopeless, we aren’t hopeless. Our hope isn’t for long term survival now, it is about spending as much quality time as possible. If you have an opinion on this, I would ask you keep it to yourself. I did say baring a miracle.
After focusing on the holidays, our current plan is to start WBR on January 4. She will do 10 treatments, over a two week period. We expect that she will respond to the radiation as she did last time and this will buy her some more time. Time, we all want and need.
Thank you for all your kind words and love. If Anna is unable to to regularly update her situation in the coming months, I will do my best to keep everyone in the loop. I would ask that if you reach out to her, understand it may take some time to get back to you. This is a very difficult time, filled with hard emotions and frightening realities.
Enjoy the holiday season with family and friends. Thats what we will be doing. Love from all of us.