We’re back in Houston. Mom, Dad and I flew in last night, arriving sometime around 9:30pm at the same hotel I just finished spending six weeks at during radiation. I’ve become so well-known here that as soon as I walked in the door, John the desk attendant shouted out, “Hey! What are you doing here again? It’s good to see you!” And by the time I reached the desk he had my account up and was already busy checking me in. Somewhere along the line I became an “elite” member at Marriott. I guess that’s what happens when you live in a hotel for so long!!
Today was filled with an incredibly packed day of appointments, starting at 6:30am and ending sometime around 3:30pm, with no more than about 30 minutes to grab a very quick breakfast and a very quick lunch in between a couple of them. The first of these was an MRI of my brain. I was in the machine for no more than an hour before I went back to the waiting room, got dressed and was on my way. I was nervous of the results, but had to move on with getting blood work and having an ultrasound of my abdomen (just a baseline scan for reference requested by Dr. Wolff) before I had my appointment with Dr. Weinberg, the master surgeon that did my surgery almost exactly three months ago.
It was good to see him when he walked through the door, but again, I was too nervous to enjoy the small talk. He asked how I was doing, and I mentioned the memory and energy loss, along with this problem with my hearing I’ve had lately… largely due to some wax buildup. Mmmmm! And as soon as he was done asking about these things, he pulled up my MRI scans and started showing me the comparison. First from before the surgery. Then from after the surgery. And finally, today’s scan that showed the results from radiation. They showed a near-perfectly shaped circle where I once had my tumor. It was pretty crazy to see. There were a couple spots that were a little highlighted… something that normally meant tumor. But in walking us through it, he pointed the two spots out and noted that he doesn’t believe that they are tumor, instead being something like brain that was pressured, squeezed, before the surgery and now finding relief in the new space that was left open from surgery and radiation.
It took a few seconds for me to absorb what I’d just heard — some incredible news! It was a great sign of success in the surgery and treatment I have just gone through. And while it’s early in my follow-up and I’ll be going through this monthly for a while, it was just the right thing to hear and have me headed in the right direction. Mom, Dad and I were all smiles. And the good doctor felt it too, so much so that he was quickly saying goodbye… “The best part about giving you good news is that I don’t have to keep you here longer.” He shook our hands and was out the door… off to help someone else.
We couldn’t have agreed more. Yes, there are more appointments tomorrow, but this was the best way to start these two days of follow-up.
My last appointment for the day was cognitive testing, meant to check on my memory and thinking changes that came as a result of surgery and radiation. I took the same test the day before my surgery. It’s an amazing and rather long appointment starting with an hour long discussion on various effects I’m experiencing, and moving on to what seems like kid-like tests that often left me stumped. Naming illustrated objects like a painter’s palette or a protractor, listening to a series of numbers and then being asked to repeat them backwards, looking at a pattern and being asked to build it with blocks, or taking pegs and putting them in differently angled slots… It actually adds up to a rather complicated hour.
According to the doctor, I haven’t had any loss since my first appointment. That’s a good sign that there aren’t major losses in my memory bank! I’ll be getting the actual full report on Monday… stay tuned.
The rest of the day was just with Mom and Dad, grabbing some tasty dinner and giving a little toast to the great news we’ve received so far. Let’s hope tomorrow offers more of the same with my visits with four other doctors. I’ll keep you posted.