Sunday, November 4, 2012

Maileen's Journey - November 2-3

Thanks so much to all of you who continue to pray for Maileen, Peter, and Marissa!
Here are two of her latest updates:

One small tumor, the size of a pencil eraser, was all that the CT scan showed in Maileen's liver. That CT scan in June left us hoping that soon Maileen would be cancer clear.  But while I was in Honduras for one week in August, Maileen experienced some unusual headaches that would come and go. Two days after I returned and one day before we had planned to travel to Michigan, we met with Maileen's oncologist. A CT scan and an MRI later we knew the cause of her headaches:
two brain tumors, 25mm and 7mm.

This was a strange reality to face. Nevertheless, after the treatment options were explained to us and the date for the "surgery" set,  a familiar peace came over us. At first, I thought it might just be numbness to yet another challenging situation, but as the week went on and the day of her "surgery"
arrived the peace remained.

Maileen's "surgery" would be gamma knife radiosurgery. I've been writing surgery in quotes because the procedure involves neither a knife nor an incision. Instead some 200 gamma rays, each too weak to cause damage on their own, are focused on one point. The sum of their energy is great enough to destroy the tumor's vascular system. The process is not unlike how a magnifying glass can focus the sun's rays to a singular hot point.

We are grateful to have had access to such amazing science. This was an outpatient procedure. We checked in at 6:30am and by 2pm she was released. In fact, since she had not eaten much before the procedure, Maileen asked to have a late lunch at Panera. She was a tired and still a little loopy from the drugs, but the procedure was done and she was out in less than 8 hours.

In response to the appearance of these new tumors, Maileen's oncologist ordered a CT scan from the neck down. We were concerned that new tumors might appear. But the results were the best news we had received in quite some time: no tumors, not even in her liver!

We are praying that Maileen will be "cancer clear." But due to the nature of the gamma knife procedure we have had to wait to see to what degree it was a success. She had an MRI on October 31. We are waiting to hear from her oncologist if all the tumors were destroyed and to find out
how well her brain is healing.

Please pray that there will be no brain tumors and that her head continues to heal.

We just heard from Maileen's oncologist.  Wednesday's MRI showed that the smaller of her two brain tumors is gone.  The larger tumor has reduced in size by one half.

This does not mean that the Gamma Knife procedure was unsuccessful. The gamma rays should have destroyed the vascular system of the tumor and it may just be a matter of time before the dead tumor tissue is "absorbed" by the body.Maileen has begun a second chemotherapy drug. This one is oral. It is a drug that is intended to work in synergy with the other drug to combat tumors in the brain.
Thank you for your continued prayers.

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