...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature...divorce...second chances...
and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2017. Hootie~

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Still waiting...

Mom had her MRI on Tuesday as planned. This is what I hate about being three hours away...she won't find out the results until next week - Tuesday I believe. How can they let her walk away from there and NOT tell her the results? Since she's had breast cancer, when she has a mammogram she can't leave there without knowing the results. Shouldn't this be the same thing? A tumor was growing in her head, she's had surgery, radiation and chemo to eliminate it, had an MRI, results should be available immediately. I don't get it! But, I do realize that my mom is of that generation who will do what the doctor says and not question it.

Or maybe not knowing is what my mom wants.

Mom was told: MRI on this date, meet with the doctor on this date. She didn't ask about finding out the results any sooner.

I really am trying to practice patience.

Different people respond differently!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The clock still slowly counts each second...

Talked with my mom today. She had her head over a can, feeling ready to get sick once again. She has no energy. She's tired of being sick. She actually got away from Grandma's house on Sunday and didn't go to a radiation treatment or blood test. She rode as a passenger to my sister's, an hour away. She said she couldn't recall how to get from Grams to the toll road. I tried to reassure her that her brain has been through a lot.

She still has little control over her bladder and bowels.

This cancer sucks. Another week until mom's MRI. I feel so helpless. I can't even imagine what is going through my mom's head. Part of me doesn't even want to know how things are and the other part of me wants to know right now. Even knowing what change my ability to do something.

I feel so frustrated and sad. I am sure depression is mixed between my frustration and sadness. I keep trying to keep busy so I won't think about my mom's situation. Then guilt takes over. I mowed our grass this morning and I feel guilty because I could mow the grass.

Life is not fair. I wish it was next Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Facts on Astrocytoma Grade 4

Grade 4: Grade 4 astrocytomas, frequently referred to as glioblastomas or glioblastoma multiforme, are the most malignant variety of these tumors. They are made up of cells which infiltrate brain tissue with a region - in some cases, multiple regions - of solid tumor tissue within the zone of infiltrated brain tissue. Mitoses are frequently noted by the pathologist as the surgical specimen is examined. In addition, regions of necrosis (dead tissue) are also noted where the tumor has grown so fast that parts of it has outpaced its blood supply. These tumors induce the formation of new but abnormal blood vessels. The identification of these blood vessels are also important in establishing the diagnosis. The CT and MRI demonstrate a contrast enhancing mass with a hypodense center (corresponding to necrosis), surrounded by a zone of hypodensity on CT and prolonged T1 and T2 on MRI (corresponding to infiltrated parenchyma).

The Grade 4 astrocytoma has the worst prognosis of all: 17 weeks average (mean)survival after diagnosis without treatment; 30 weeks average survival with biopsy followed by radiation therapy; 37 weeks average survival following surgical removal of most of the tumor tissue component of the tumor and radiation therapy; and 51 weeks average survival following stereotactic volumetric resection of the tumor tissue component and radiation therapy.

The prognosis for any patient with a malignant astrocytoma (Grade 3 or 4) is also very dependent upon age (older people do not live as long as young patients) and performance status (patients who are neurologically normal and independent live longer than patients who have a neurological deficit). Chemotherapy has been shown to add several weeks to survival. Radiation implants(brachytherapy) have also been shown to increase survival but more than half of these patients require another operation to remove dead tissue resulting from the radiation.

information from: http://www.braintumorfoundation.org/Astrocytomas.asp

Glioblastoma multiforme -- grade 4 astrocytomas, also the most malignant. Glioblastoma multiforme usually spread quickly to other parts of the brain. For this reason, these are difficult to treat. It is not uncommon for these tumors to recur after the initial treatment, and further treatment may be needed.

Grading references how tumor cells look under the microscope. Grades 1 and 2 are low grade, Grade 3 is moderate and Grade 4 is high. Low grade means that the tumor cells resemble normal brain cells; they usually grow slowly and are not likely to spread. In high grade tumors, the cells look very abnormal, and are more likely to grow quickly and spread.

information from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/glioma/astrocytomas.html

another informative web site: http://www.cancerbackup.org.uk/Cancertype/Brain

Hope?...or denial...

So today I talked with my mom and she had a phone call last night from my uncle. It seems his Father-in-Law has an inoperable tumor behind his heart. He has been told he has less than a year to live. My mom said she's glad that's not her. She doesn't know what she'd do if the doctor told her she only had six months to a year to live. She said she's glad she's not in the same boat as Stanley (the FIL).

I am recalling just a two months ago when she said to me she remembers when she worked for a brain surgeon and she knew people who got this cancer (Astrocytoma grade 4, aka GBM) and they weren't around in 6-8 months. Just yesterday she told me her life is boring. She doesn't want to go through this again. Today she said she knows grade 4 isn't miniscule.

I am wondering now...is she in denial or does she have hope? Am I being pessimistic? I haven't voiced my thoughts to her, but I really am trying to focus on having quality time with her. I want to make sure she knows how much I love her and how much she has meant and means to me.

I am really worried about what July 25th will bring. Surely she will have the MRI results back quickly. What will happen if she doesn't get a clean bill of health? How will my 87 year old grandmother deal with bad news? She's definitely in denial since she started telling people that mom's tumor wasn't even in her brain...it was just between her skull and her brain.

Everyday I feel my blood pressure rising. I wish the 25th would just get here so we can get it over with. I can't seem to think about anything else.

Tick...tock...the clock moves very slow when a person is waiting for an answer.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Radiation done...Chemo break...

So yesterday my mom finished her radiation and chemo treatments. Now we wait until the 25th for her to have her MRI. On August first she will have five more chemo treatments. The chemo increases from 140mg to 300mg.

Mom's steroids will cut down on Monday. She will go from three pills a day to one. Then two weeks later that one pill will be cut in half for two more weeks. Maybe getting off the steroids will help her shaking stop and her head not feel so heavy. She's been told the steroids weaken her neck muscles.

Yesterday mom also fell. She got moving too fast forward and fell into a "push up" position. I haven't talked to her to see if she's okay. Art told me and he didn't say she got hurt. He did say he tried to catch her, but he was behind her. Poor thing.

My sister e-mailed a picture of mom when she had her hair buzzed a few weeks ago. If I can figure out how to link it to here I will. In the picture mom's forehead hadn't turned all dark brown and leathery yet. She also doesn't look as tired as she looked in person last week when I was with her.

Maybe later I will feel like writing about my visit.