Fall 2009: Jake and Nancy learned that Nancy's breast cancer was stage four. Winter 2013: They are still fighting. This is a gathering place to follow their story, offer support, love and prayers... to be by their side.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gamma Knife

Dear friends and family,

This might be an entertaining blog post, I've got a couple Vicodin in me right now and am a little fuzzy (hopefully I won't regret using photos in this post!).  The Gamma Knife procedure went very smoothly today.  Aside from a headache and mild nausea, I feel amazingly normal and hope to be back at work tomorrow.

It was pretty fascinating how they do the procedure.  Once you are settled into a nice, comfortable room, the first step is attaching the frame.  The neurosurgeon numbed up four spots on my head using a generous dose of lidocaine.  Jake was with me the entire time and he said the lidocaine puffed up like giant horns on my forehead.  This part hurt, but was over fairly quickly.  Then they slip the frame over my head and start screwing in the pins.  The pins were enormous, see photo of it in my hand to give you an idea.  After the frame was attached, I was sent for an MRI.  If you look closely, you can see the tumor on the scan circled on the image with a cross through it and a rectangular tag, right behind the eye.  As the Radiation Oncologist described to me, the lesion is in prime real estate being close to the optic nerve (he referred to it as waterfront property), so the main concern was ensuring they only hit the tumor, not the optic nerve, which was near by.
Anyway, after the MRI, the team of doctors, neurosurgeon, physicist, and radiation oncologist work together to determine the precise treatment plan.  Once complete, they brought me into the room with the actual gamma knife, snapped my head frame to the table, turned on some soft relaxing music, and started the actual procedure.  I didn't feel anything and, in fact, slept through most of it.

Removing the frame was a snap and we were sent on our way.  We grabbed a little lunch, then I got home and slept most of the afternoon.  I woke up with a pretty bad headache and nausea, but it is under control.  All in all, not too bad.  I will have a follow up MRI in a month and hopefully that pesky little sucker will be gone.

The Rad Onc also suggested radiating one of the bone lesions in my spine.  He has been communicating with Dr. Rinn about this, so that will be something to possibly do in the next month or two.  

 Thanks again to everyone for all your well wishes and prayers.  And big thanks to Jenny for bringing us delicious dinner. - Love, Nancy

Friday, April 6, 2012

Here we go...

Dear friends and family,
We've hit another bump in the road and I wanted to give an update with the latest scoop.  I've been having some mild balance issues, so Dr. Rinn ordered an MRI of my head and it turns out I have a small brain tumor.  We met with the neurosurgeon on Friday who is recommending gamma knife, a radiation procedure, tentatively scheduled for April 24th.  My tumor markers are on the rise as well, so once we get the brain issue out of the way, we need to see if things have heated up anywhere else and need to switch treatments.

Jake and I are doing well and, as always, are so thankful to have a great medical team, and even more thankful for our wonderful support network.  I'll send more updates as we get more information.  Love and hugs all around.

- Nancy