March 2009

Posted by Casey on March 15th, 2009


Last week I had another one of those MRIs that snuck up on me with my doctor in Minneapolis. I’ve been so busy with work that I haven’t spent much time really even thinking about anything else. So when I got the call the night before to pre-register for the appointments it took me slightly by surprise.

It was just the standard MRI/doctor checkup that I’ve been having every 2 or 3 months since radiation. And I was assuming it would go just like the rest of them — ending with good news. This one didn’t quite go that way.

A month or so before the appointment I had spoken with the team in Minneapolis about the October/January appointments in Houston, letting them know that in October the team at M.D. Anderson thought there might be some hot spots on the scan but that January didn’t show anything. And I requested that those scans be sent from Houston to Minneapolis for comparison during this appointment.

I went in for my scan and then headed to the doctor’s office later in the afternoon. Generally, Dr. Truscheim opens the door and immediately says something like “everything’s great” or “it looks fine”. But this time he greeted me while heading to the computer to pull up the MRI and immediately started talking about the scan of the tumor — that is, the part of the original tumor that couldn’t be removed and was instead radiated. He pulled up that day’s scan, along with scans from last June, and started pointing to certain areas where he and the radiologist are “without much room for doubt” seeing an increase in the size of the remaining tumor. And as we went through different layers of the MRI, there were spots were I could see growth as well.

While walking me through these he was very quick to note how “very, very slow” the growth was and that for now we should just continue monitoring. I was trying to listen, but couldn’t help but think of the “what’s next?”

We discussed my P53 genetic disorder and how that limits the safety and effectiveness of certain treatments, and how jumping into chemotherapy or radiation run way too much risk at this point. After I asked him about surgery to remove it, he reminded me of the reason that area had to be left behind in the first place – “you wouldn’t come back the same you”. Without question, he is recommending we should continue to monitor with upcoming MRIs, and several times pressed the “very slow” message. It’s so damn easy to say, but wasn’t very easy to hear.

I called my dad and gave him the news, and of course broke down because it was all too familiar. But dad is always great at comforting at just the right moment. He reminded me that we still have no idea how long the original tumor was there in the first place… that it may have been since I was a little kid. And as far as the remaining tumor grows, “we’ll just have to pray that it grows so slowly that you outlive it.”

I think Dad is spot on.

I’m heading back to Houston in May with Mom for a full set of tests, obviously including another MRI. The scans from last week have been passed to the team there so we’ll be comparing lots and lots (and lots) of MRIs and I’ll update you accordingly. For now, hope you’re all doing well.

Love you.

P.S. Today is Jill & Ben’s one-year anniversary! Hence the photo from last year. I’m heading out to spend a week with them on Wednesday. Can’t wait!

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19 Responses to “March 2009”

  1. "Anonymous"


    My prayers are with you. It doesn’t seem on year since Chet and I saw you. You keep strong and you will beat it.

    Love ya,

    Chet & Aunt Mary”

  2. "Anonymous"

    “Casey, You are in our prayers.
    Miss you and love you,
    Michelle, Tony, Sophia and David XXoo”

  3. "Anonymous"

    “Dear Casey -

    What a blow this must be but you’ve fought this fight before and won – you can do it again. We’re praying for you and are in the ring with you.

    Love to you and your family -

    Lucy, Kevin, Domi, Cat and Tess”

  4. "Laura B."

    “As Travis has been saying lately… we will ‘Stand Together!!’
    I can feel all the love and thoughts being sent out to you, Casey…
    Always standing by you,”

  5. “Our thoughts are with you. Have fun in San Francisco.”

  6. “Hey Handsome – I’m always here. Keep channeling that positive energy! Take time to relax in San Franny. Call me when you get back and we’ll do dinner! Love You Always!!”

  7. “love you. love you. love you.”

  8. "Mark and Lisa White"

    “Lisa and I are thinking of you Casey! Hang in there, and if we can do anything, please don’t hesitate! Have fun on your trip!”

  9. "Cousin Jane"

    Casey — the Henrich clan in hanging tough with you …. lots of prayers and positive thoughts are coming your way … we love you! Have a great time in San Francisco and give our best to Jill, Ben and that precious doggie of theirs!

    Cousin Jane and the rest of the Henriches”

  10. "Ben and Emily"

    Our prayers are with you, but I have a feeling that the tumor doesn’t have much of a chance against your ability to fight back. It’s good to hear you’re on your way out here. Depending on what you have planned for the week you should give us a call and maybe you guys can make it up to Sacramento or we can come down to the Bay. Let us know, and good luck with the crazies in that town ;-)
    Love, Ben and Emily”

  11. "Mandy, Mason and Grady"

    “Hey Casey,

    We are saying our prayers and wish you a wonderful trip! Have fun :)

    Mandy, Mason and Grady”

  12. "Anonymous"

    “That pesky tumor doesn’t stand a chance. I see you old and grey and still gorgeous telling this story. Enjoy your trip.


  13. "Anonymous"

    “WE love you Casey : ) See you in April : )”

  14. "Anonymous"

    Just wanted to say that we will be praying for you and thinking of you everyday!
    Love you much
    Lyndsie and Kevin”

  15. "Monica H"

    “Casey–keep thinking positive! I’m saying prayers for you.
    have a great time in SF!


  16. "Anonymous"

    I’ve been thinking about you, wondering what you’re doing, where you’re living, etc.. and contacted Mel Bitz, which she gave me your website. Love to hear from you.. hope you receive more info in Texas.
    jen sather olson”

  17. "Anonymous"

    “Hey Casey! I’ve said it before and will say it again… You’re one tough cookie and you’re going to beat this! Stay strong and know we are all here for you. I’m looking forward to our next lunch date:)

    Laura Nelson”

  18. “Casey,

    I love your dad’s point about the tumor. Have a great time with your sister and Ben. Chris and I will continue to keep you in our prayers. Sydney says hello as well. :) Almost.


  19. “miss you lots! thinking of you so much!”