Thursday, April 23, 2009

tentative prognosis

When I went back in to see Mom and Emo, I was met by a certain Dr. Meister, who suited up alongside me so we could enter Mom's room together. He laid out to us what the docs know at this point, which is essentially what we already knew: the surgeons had taken out as much of the tumor as they could, and the preliminary assessment was that we are looking at an aggressive glioma. Mom will have to undergo radiotherapy for the tumor, along with a new type of chemotherapy in pill form (for those doing online research about all this, be aware that some information might be slightly out of date; some references that I consulted said that chemo is rarely suggested in cases like Mom's).

The prognosis for people with Mom's type of aggressive glioma isn't that great. A person normally has about one to two years of life with regular treatment, according to Dr. Meister. Anecdotally speaking, there are exceptions: Dr. Meister has one patient who has gone four years with no recurrence of his tumor.

We all want to be positive, especially today, especially now, with Mom doing so much better after surgery. But the doctor's news was devastating for my aunt, who's trying her best to be positive in front of Mom, her little sister. Obviously, it's devastating for the rest of us, too: more than ever, it brings each precious moment into focus.

Now is not the time to give up, not when we're at the very beginning of exploring our treatment options. I'll tell you more as new developments arise.

UPDATE: Here's a post by a neurosurgery resident re: Ted Kennedy's brain tumor, which is the same type as Mom's. The resident's blog is interesting; you get some idea of what the healthcare profession looks like from the inside. It's not always pretty, as this post demonstrates.



Adam said...

Kevin, my prayers are with you man. I'm sorry to hear the news, but am glad to know that your family is a supportive one...

Movie Guy Steve said...


Let me know if there's anything I can do, even if it's just give you an ear.
All the best thoughts for your mom.

Becky said...

Kevin, prayers continue to be sent heavenward for your mom, your family, and you. Continue to stay positive. Modern medicine is advanced, but it's still not predictable. You can't know what lies ahead, so continue to relish each moment you share with your mom, and together as a family, and laugh OFTEN. Then cry if you need to. But know you've got a support network across the globe, rooting for you and...well, just being here.

Malcolm Pollack said...

Please know we are all thinking of you, Kevin. Hang in there!

Mark and Marie said...

Our prayer's and thoughts are with you. If you need anything let us know.

Kevin said...

Thanks, all of you.