Tuesday, July 10, 2012

One Step Back, Three Steps Forward

*******This blog was written earlier this morning**********

I can't seem to figure out if Jesus cat lives in this house, or if Cali Jesus lives there.

So, I put a little poll on the blog for you to put your two cents in about my next treatment choice. I'm nervous about doing another brain surgery, but it provides the freshest tissue available which allows for the most effective vaccine. The trick with brain tumors, especially mine, is that they tend to morph. They change even within grades, constantly evolving. Brain surgeries have advanced so much, and they are relatively safe. Just typing that seems crazy, but when I went in for my original surgery they told me that there was only a 10% chance of having any complications. Of course, always wanting to be the exception, I fell into that group. You might remember within hours of my tumor resection that my dura mater pulled from my skull and a large blood clot formed in my tumor cavity. Luckily, my father who was with me in the ICU noticed that I was getting progressively incoherent. He started pushing the nurses to get the doctors, and at one point even started yelling at them when they argued. When my neurosurgeon arrived, he kicked everything into high gear, they were running me into surgery, it was very serious. It was life threatening. As my mom reminded me this morning, I almost died.

To be in the position to have to decide on brain surgery is incredibly difficult. Do I avoid it because of the possible risk? Do I opt out of the most effective western treatment because I'm afraid? I'm equally scared of doing the surgery as I am about missing out on the benefits of the treament. In my soul, I feel like I need to do everything in my power to heal my body, and sometimes that means taking one step back (surgery) and three steps forward (shots of the personalized vaccine).

I'm grateful that I'll be getting the Dopa PET scan to verify that the tissue in question is or isn't tumor. That's the first step which allows me time to make my final decision. Who knows, maybe we'll find that I've done enough with my supplements to shrink Hermie.

The trick is that, if Herman has morphed at all, the German dendritic cell therapy will not be effective. We need the most recent pathology to target my exact tumor as it is in this point in time. It is pretty much a guarantee that my tumor has changed over the past two years. Especially with all of the different supplements that I've used. Each time you attack a tumor, it tries to morph to avoid death.

In essence, I could try the German therapy, and add that to my supplements - which is exactly what I had been planning on doing. But, then, I contacted Dr Liau and found out that I could do the dendritic cell therapy here at UCLA. I've never been much of a quitter and in my gut I truly feel like I need to do this brain surgery and get the best vaccine. I can add that to my supplements. I do not want to die, obviously, but sometimes you have to risk your life to have life. I want to get better. I want to have Danny's beautiful little babies. I want to heal myself. I want to show others that we can beat this!

A few different friends have asked if we could do a biopsy instead of a full on surgery, but unfortunately, that's not how it works. The more tumor tissue you have, the more potent the vaccines are. The way this works is that they remove all of the tumor, then they divide the tissue into three equal shots. If you only have a little bit of tissue you might only get one shot (if there isn't enough to divide). You actually want more tumor in this situation - crazy and counterintuitive. It's opposite from everything we've been working toward, but hey, it's how it works.

Although I'm scared, I refuse to let fear dictate my life. I do not want to take a hundred different pills a day, remain shackled to a refrigerator since I need to take milk with most of them, and live tethered to my house. It makes it hard to go for a run, or a walk, or go hang out with friends - it's tricky to even get to the gym. I only have so much time between pills. It's not realistic, and it's not a fun way to live my life. It makes me depressed. I know that the supplements alone are not going to be enough, it will take too long and I won't be able to stay up on them. I need to amp it up or I worry I'll lose the drive to fight.

1 comment:

  1. Do the surgery. You've done it before, you can do it again. Don't let this shot pass you by. Go after it with the same fierce determination you've presented on every step of this journey.


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