Monday, November 21, 2011

Post-Radiation Follow-up, Monday, November 21, 2011

Hello Everyone,
It has been a little while since I wrote on the blog and I want to thank Dana for keeping everyone up to speed with her regular blogging.

Today was a great day!!

We went to MD Anderson and met with the neuro-oncologist Dr Morris Groves and he compared the post-radiation MRI performed at Hillcrest in Waco to the post-operative MRI the day after surgery.  There is a small spot on the post radiation scan that we can see on the post-op that the radiologists at Hillcrest and Dr Groves are confident is post radiation necrosis.  (dead tissue from the radiation treatments)

So, essentially, all is well from a MRI scan perspective.

Dr Groves is recommending we pursue the chemotherapy, Timadar.  This will be a pill, once a day for five days (M-F) then 3 weeks off.  Then repeat for total of one year of chemo.  Luckily, there are very few side affects, mainly Nausea and Vomiting.  Sometimes pt will experience a decrease in White Blood Count but I asked specifically if I could work during this chemo and he said yes.  I will also have an MRI every 2 months and regular oncology office visits, both at Texas Oncology and MD Anderson.

The second portion of today's visit was to repeat the Psycho-Cognitive evaluation.  The psychologist told Dana and I that my pre-surgical performance was above average for males my age with similar education.  (that is important because it indicates that the tumor had very minimal affect on my cognitive capabilities pre-op, if at all) Personally, I think I performed better on my cognitive testing today compared to pre-op.  Ironically, I remember most of the tests/tasks and am pretty sure I did better.  They are mostly questions of memory, word association, tasks of time and skill (hand-eye coordination and tactile coordination.)    Although, I am not sure it is a by-product of having taken the tests before and some memory of how to answer/perform or I just plain did better.  I asked for the results of today's testing and she will mail them to me in the next couple of weeks.  We also had a brief conversation regarding the Wonderlic Psychological test, something the NFL has utilized in the combine since 1970 to guage each players IQ.  You have 12 minutes to answer 50 questions.  Check it out on Wikipedia, kinda cool.

As you know, I started back to work 3 weeks ago and I still remember all the medicine and still look up the little minutia that I looked up before.  I have good stamina and am only a little more tired at the end of a shift than I used to be.  Unfortunately, I am the first to acknowledge I am not as fast as I once was but as Toby Keith says, "I'm as good once as I ever was."  So, I plan on getting my speed up but the most important thing I have learned regarding patient care from this medical experience, do not neglect the heart and soul of the patient or their family.  If I am a little slower because I take more time to talk to the patient and family and explain clearly the plan, tests, results, diagnosis and follow-up, I am ok with this.  But, I will continue to strive to get back to the speed I had but with more compassion than ever.

I am very grateful to each and everyone of you that has been praying for me and Dana, Audrey and Parker. We are so blessed to have such a large and caring group of family and friends that are concerned about all aspects of this adventure.  It is wonderful the support that you have shown for Dana, she is the unfortunate collateral damage to all of this but it is each and everyone of you and God that have kept her so upbeat and energetic.  I can only wish that you will continue to pray and give encouragement to us.  Please remember to pray for yourselves and your families as well.

God Bless everyone.
Love Always
David and Dana
Audrey and Parker