Thursday (last week) I had an MRI. Monday (this week) the neuro-oncologist provided quite a relief by approving of what he saw. That may seem like a small period of time. Just a few days. A minor inconvenience. But, I'm used to less now. Much less. Less than even a few hours. And, not very long ago, an MRI revealed the need for another brain surgery, 6 years after the first ones (the first time in 2010 was technically 2 surgeries a day apart from each other), entirely unexpectedly. So, to me, the span between Thursday and Monday seemed like forever.
Ok, "forever" is being a little dramatic, but it did seem long, especially in the midst of the waiting. What I came to realize, in dealing with the mounting anxiety, is that no matter the verdict passed on Monday, my behavior over the weekend preceding would be roughly the same. At least I knew that it probably should be. I knew that no matter what determination I encountered Monday, I "should" act the same. I should value each second like it's the last drop of ice cold lemonade on a blistering hot and muggy day. A day where you sweat just by being in the air. A day where walking out the door feels like running smack into a solid wall of hot. A cold, refreshing drink on that kind of day. Well much easier said than done. I could comfortably ponder it, but putting it into action was something else entirely, and something I did not come close to achieving fully.
But, I did recognize it. I think that's a significant step (at least I hope it is). I recognized that every day, every thing anyone does could have, and does have, an unknown limited number of moments and days following. Turns out, when you think about it, no one actually has forever.
In my attempt to increase time, not to an unattainable "forever," but at least longer, this is the current situation and plan. I have an MRI about every 2 months or so. This was my second MRI since treatment began. Going into the first I was forewarned of possibly poor images resulting from the scarring and other trauma to the area. But, happily, that MRI showed a significant decrease in the size of the remaining tumor. Still I did not want to jump to conclusions and make some epic pronouncement of status. My thought was that the next MRI could demonstrate a trajectory. Now this second MRI showed a slightly smaller tumor mass than the last. Now this second MRI puts things on a good trajectory. Now this second MRI makes a good conclusion less of a jump. It's a hop toward the good instead. The doctor is unsure if it will get much smaller as time goes on or not. It has become lighter, more wispy, in color so the tumor image may simply define a scarred area. Later MRIs should demonstrate more. My next round of chemotherapy pills begins on October 17. For those with a detailed calendar of my chemo treatments (I'm sure there are lots) that's a week later than expected. The change simply allows for better scheduling. Since my blood work seems to look acceptable, a change in the schedule does not create a cause for concern for my doctor. And if he's good, I'm good - more or less. We already make the trek down to the hospital at least every other week to have blood drawn, and often a lot more. In the scheme of things an annoying car ride does not equate to the be all and end all, but, when a trip to the hospital entails braving the LA traffic, even slightly reducing the number of trips can be hugely impactful. Although they clearly don't, sometimes those trips feel like they take forever!