All things considered... good? Yes, good.

The main takeaway from my MRI on Thursday, March 1st, was a good looking MRI. My doctor reaffirmed his Friday phone assessment in person on Monday. The image looked identical. A tiny, unassuming, unchanged dot. The longer unchanged the better. It's been unchanged for months which hopefully indicates the absence of activity, both now and in the future (unless that activity is complete disappearance, in which case I would accept that activity).


The more in the weeds situation remains more...complicated. Complicated in part because of a continued allergic reaction to an essential element of MRIs (which in and of themselves are essential). But also complicated because of symptoms that may or may not be related to the negative reaction experienced from those MRIs. It's just another layer of uncertainty, so par for the cancer course. Wait and see. Don't overreact. Easy to say and council. Very hard to do and put into practice.

So, as long as things don't dramatically and unexpectedly change, that difficult mantra of "wait and see" provides the plan. "Wait and see" and "don't overreact." Continue to work on the S L O W process of physical improvements to strength and balance and coordination while simultaneously trying to balance MY cancer experience with MY semi-regular life experience. And then, in two more months, another opportunity to again reassess the situation and, almost assuredly, an opportunity for even more uncertainty. Until then, at least I have this latest MRI image.

Thumbs up!

Thursday, January 4, 2018, I had a positive MRI! That's the sound byte. If you take anything from my retelling it's that: Thursday I had an MRI and that MRI looked good.

Yesterday, Monday, January 8, we met with my neuro-oncologist and and he showed us the images, the Magnetic Resonance Images, that look like X-Rays of my brain. The images look almost exactly the same as the last images from November. There is still one highlighted dot. It hasn't changed which increases the likelihood that it's scar tissue or some other inactive tumor tissue.

But there in lies the rub. The hard truth to the image is that while it's very good that things essentially look the same, "the same" entails a small bit of undefined tissue in my head that at the very, very best was formerly cancerous. ALSO, I had been completely visibly cancer free for about 5 years, from 2011 to 2016. Then, in the absence of any indication, a new brain tumor grew in the old site. The result was the most recent treatments, including this recent MRI. So I partially underwent this MRI because of cancer's uncertainty.

In addition to the uncertainty the images provide, I also physically felt uncertain. Thursday morning I had an MRI. My Dr. viewed the results and relayed the good news later that day. Saturday I didn't feel well. My stomach felt uneasy which led directly to me feeling uneasy. Monday I felt fine. Did I feel weird on Saturday because the cancerous tissue inside my head began to grow AGAIN? Or, did I feel weird because I felt weird and sometimes people feel weird? It's uncertain.

All I can do is know that anything I experienced negatively in the few months leading up to my last MRI did not ultimately result in a negative. I can apply that knowledge to any weird feeling now. But there's no ignoring the fact that I unexpectedly produced a tumor in 2016. That constant tension leads to constant uncertainty. Any image provides a small amount of sureness that things looked good at that one moment in time. But it does not completely erase the past or my recollection of it.


So yes, my latest MRI looked good. Things hadn't really changed. For the next MRI I will have the knowledge that in terms of my cancer nothing was bad leading up to this last MRI. But, because I experience a constant reality of brain cancer there isn't the same space to exhale and breathe personally as there might be when reading a periodic update from a distance. Unfortunately the news doesn't help alleviate the uncertainty going forward, but fortunately there's a forward to go. Keep going that way!


It's all "good."

On Thursday a big, whirring, LOUD, machine, in a cold room took brain pictures for me. My nuero-oncolgist wasn't working that day. We spoke over the phone Friday instead. He told me, after viewing the images, everything looked good. What did "good" mean? I was not sure. But the "good" news overwhelmed my curiosity and was enough to satiate my wondering wandering mind for the weekend.

Monday morning I spoke to a nurse in the office. He informed me, according to the report, there were no issues. That didn't say a lot about the state of what was there, just what wasn't. Nothing "bad." I will have a normally scheduled visit with my doctor on Monday, November 11. Then I will finally get to talk to him face to face and actually see the brain pictures. 

But here's the thing, Friday all I needed to know was that everything was "good." That was enough to ease my mind for the weekend. Metaphorically we all have "good" MRIs and also "bad" MRIs. It's a certainty that something "bad" will occur to everyone at some point. That's just an inherent part of being a person.


The certainty of "bad" meaning the certainty of unpleasantness and unpleasantness being one factor in the human condition. I'm human so I'm guaranteed at least some unpleasantness.

Right now I don't necessarily know what "good" means except that "good" is not "bad." In a few days I'll learn more about "good." Hopefully though, regardless of how "good" is further defined and poked and prodded and parsed I'll continue roughly the same as I did Friday when I only knew that it's "good."