Diary of a Brain Tumor Patient's Wife

July 29, 1998

Renette Davis

The official report on the MRI says that the tumor has increased in size. (Actually what it says is "The enhancing portion of the tumor has increased in size." Anybody know what "enhancing portion" means?) The rest of the report says:

"On the axial images, the largest AP dimension is 6.5 cm with transverse axis of 4 cm and vertical access of 3.5 cm. The pattern of edema/encephalomalacia has slightly increased since previous. Minimal midline shift is present of approximately 3 mm at the level of the third ventricle which is minimally less than on previous exam."

I think that last sentence means that the tumor is presssing on the middle of the brain a little bit, so the ventricle on the right side is slightly smaller. (There is basically no ventricle on the left side any more.) To continue:

"The lesion is located in the left parietal region. The exhibits a multiloculated pattern of enhancement with central areas of decreased perfusion."

I have no idea what the last sentence means. I assume the transcriber left out the word "tumor" or something like that between "The" and "exhibits", but that still doesn't help me. We go see Dr. Nicholas, the neuro-oncologist here at U of C, this afternoon. I plan to ask him if he'll explain what the report means.

We went to see Dr. Babu, the oncologist who has taken over for Dr. Velasco, who just retired. Dr. Velasco is the one who has been overseeing Paul's chemotherapy. We took Dr. Babu the films and a copy of the report, and she said she didn't think Paul should get the final vincristine injection. Vincristine does have side effects (numbing in fingers and feet is the main one Paul has had) and it doesn't seem to be effective any more since the tumor appears to have grown some, so she didn't think there was any point.

I expect Dr. Nicholas to agree with that decision today and to recommend that we look into a clinical trial now. I assume since the official report says the tumor has grown that Paul will qualify now for a clinical trial.

We increased Paul's decadron on Saturday to 6 mg/day, which is what the doctor had prescribed for him in February when that MRI showed swelling. It seems to have perked him up, but he is still having difficulty with reading, etc. He said last night that maybe he should go ahead and retire so he'll have energy to do the things he enjoys. (He took off yesterday and rode about 50 miles in the morning on the back of a tandem with his friend Al.)

Continue to: July 30, 1998

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Created: May 31, 1999
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