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And now for some good news, good news, and good news

Posted May 25 2010 12:00am
April Brain vs May Brain

April Brain vs May Brain

I am officially a ‘fat man’. Don’t shed a tear, it’s true. Thanks to the Decadron I had to use a special MRI machine at BIDMC yesterday in the basement of their West Campus, specifically made for the claustrophobic and the obese. I was like Ray Liotta in Goodfellas walking through the basement at the Copa just to get a good table up front.

“Oh. Mister… Kontaris? Yea, you in the Espree in the basement.’ Off I go. It reminded me of an old Woody Allen joke “I was a lot better looking earlier today.” Well, I was a lot better looking when this cancer began. Not that I mind being fat, but a special machine?! Come on.

So I make it down, change into two, not one, but two gowns and in the tube I go for 40 minutes. I practiced my breathing, focused on my inner self, and smiled at my brain . After finishing, I crossed the street on a beautiful Boston day and went to meet with Dr. Eric Wong to go over the MRI results.

His Nurse Practictioner Lori is amazing. I met with her first and she went over the preliminary results and the news was all good according to her but she wanted to wait for him to come in and give his official stamp. He showed, and the first thing he said was “Wow, we gotta get you off these steroids fast.” And he is right. We then talked about the scan. The three bits of great news:

1. No new mets (which is the first thing they worry about)

2. All three existing mets have responded or are still responding to the treatment. It’s still only three weeks out from Cyberknife, but the type of ‘flair’ they now show around them, which is very different from inflammation, means that they are dying off and the tissue around them is reacting. If they had not responded then the surrounding inflammation would have looked more solid rather than snowy and blurry.

3. The one in the front right lobe has really shrunk in size, while the others have remained stable for now. He hinted that when I go in again in 60 days they will be a lot smaller.

If you notice the scans above, the April brain is so swollen overall that it is crowding the entire cranium, there is little cerebral fluid around the crown, and the swelling around the mets is really solid looking and extensive. The May brain is normal looking, less swelling, more fluid all around, and the mets are harder to see in the cloudiness of the flair. All good things.

He kept saying ‘This is fine, good, yes, I am happy, yes fine.” So I said, Eric, I need to leave here with one word from you… which is it. Give me A word. And he laughed and said “This is a good scan. GOOD.” And I thanked him and off I went. My blood pressure dropped and I went upstairs to meet with the oncology team.

I was running real late, got my blood drawn, met with the team, told them the news about the MRI and they were happy as well. I asked about my tongue met and whether or not I should just get the thing cut out but Cho wants to see how the MDX-1106 kills it off. We’ll see. Now that I am weaning off the roids the MDX should help my immune system kill this met off much faster.

OK so off to the Feldberg building for my MDX-1106 infusion. Smooth. That was the word of the day: Smooth. No reaction, I got a 50mg bag of Benadryl, Pepcid, Hydrocortisone, all to prevent allergies, which turns me into a high zombie, a feeling I love. I only wish I had some Jefferson Airplane to listen to. During my high the phone rings again. It’s Melissa. Now poor Melissa has the kids all day dropping off at school, bringing them to sports, and just dealing. We have been in contact all day after each appointment so she knows all the good news.

But as I lie there high as a kite she calls me with this “Did you say you washed Jack’s Little League uniform?” “Whaaaat?” I swore I was drooling at that point. “I think so” “He has a game in 30 minutes and I can’t find it” Ugh. The nurses were all around me sticking me with needles laughing at me not being able to form sentences.

Anyway, she found the damned uniform and he played. AND HE WON THE GAME BALL! He went 2 for 3, he hit two doubles and threw out two runners at third from left field. I was so bummed I missed his game, but I’ll see him play this Saturday.

Small digression, but it was a nice way to end a stressful 10 hour day. They came and picked me up at 8, and I slept all the way home. I woke up this morning and smiled at my brain and said “May I Be Well” and hit my mat.

And I am well…and so is everyone I love.

Thank you for all the kind words and emails and support.

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