From “relative” to “basically”

Dear All,
I have been meaning to write earlier, but somehow I never seem to have time for anything these days. Rather annoying I have to say.

Anyhow, I got my brain MRI last friday, and this time the neuro-surgeon described the tumors as “basically” stable. Doesn’t really sound like much of an upgrade from “relatively” (see last post), but it was actually better news than I expected. There is still hope that the Gammaknife treatment might have worked on those tumors. They are seeing some dark spots inside the tumors, which is most likely “dead” tumor tissue. And that is “what we want to see” according to my doctor. I always thought that necrotic/scar/dead tissue in the brain is actually quite dangerous, but not in the case of tumor tissue apparently. There is some swelling in my brain, and my balance has been getting worse for the time being. I sometimes feel like the entire world must perceive me as a “drunk” since I literally stagger along sometimes. (A liquor store owner actually did think that and had very weird ways of vocalizing his concerns). The irony is that I don’t even drink! (as most of you know). Anyhow, there is still hope, there aren’t any new tumors, and that is what matters. There were 2 small tumors (I don’t think 1cm is all that “small” but apparently my doctors do), that haven’t been treated in the first round of Gammaknife. They are slowly growing. That was to be expected and they had informed me of that possibility/likelihood already back in October. Anyhow, so that means another Gammaknife session in 10 days from now. It looks like they might not have to put me on those horrible steroids again, those almost scare me more than the actual Gammaknife itself.

What else. My PET scan (showing everything except the brain), looked excellent. Not even a teeny tiny tumor anywhere. Its been like that for a while, but still, it makes me happy. Now, if those damn tumors could just leave my brain in peace! I need it for God’s sake!

Other than that, I just have a little preemptive warning for you all. I decided to get a puppy and train her as my “assistance” dog (well, with professional help). I have been in “puppy lala-land” for the past 2 weeks, and I haven’t even met my future little creature companion yet! So just a warning that my future posts might have a rather high amount of puppy pics attached :)! And if anyone is wondering if getting a puppy might not be all that responsible of me, keep your thoughts to yourself! I have been wanting to get a dog forever, but never thought I couldn’t given my life style. But by now I researched the whole thing to death, and talked to so many dog people/breeders/knowledgeable dog owners & friends (I don’t even want to know how many hours I spent!), that I’m rather confident I’m making a good decision (besides being madly in love with a dog I haven’t met).

Besides that I am coming to the end of my week in California (I’m flying out every three weeks right now), where I met with all my grad students. I love those grads and I always walk out invigorated and in a good mood after those meetings (well almost always). Flying back to New York on Sunday, ready to enjoy the freezing cold in the city :).

Ok, I can’t help it. Below a picture of Lucinha and her sisters. She is the one in the middle.

All best and until soon,
Shani/Beatriz