After a few months of tension headaches, and most recently dizziness and vision abnormalities the stubborn love of my life finally went in for an MRI on his brain July 17th, 2019. It was 8pm when he went in and at about 10pm he got a call from the waiting room from the radiologist apologizing for the wait but they had found a brain tumor and someone would be out shortly to take us down to ER. They called in the Neurologist who ended up getting there around 11:30pm. She walked us through the MRI and showed us the tumor which was roughly 2x3cm deep in the corpus colosseum. She put Den on a steroid to help with the swelling in the brain due to the tumor and an anti-seizure medicine due to where the tumor was located and admitted him to the hospital.
The next day, Thursday July 18th, he got a full body CT Scan to rule out any other sites of tumors which came out clear, thank goodness. It was only in his brain.
The neurosurgeon then met with us and walked us through the brain surgery they were planning for the next morning, Friday July 19th, where they would drill a small hole in his skull to take a biopsy of the tumor. That next morning he went in at 9am and they successfully biopsied the tumor. I can't tell you how long those hours were waiting for him to get out of surgery. I was a complete mess but Den's mom Lynn and my sister Shari were there to help make the time go fast (as well a surprise visit from a ol' softball body Rob). Initial pathology showed it to be a Glioma but the specifics of the tumor would take about a week to get back from neuropathology.
That next day, Saturday July 20th, Den was discharged from the hospital at 10:30am, we went home curled up in bed and watched a few shows where I thought we would stay all day until Den said "You know we could get up to the Goedderz cabin by 5pm if we left now".... before this nightmare happened we had plans to go spend the weekend with friends. So I was like absolutely if your up for it so we did, the day after he had brain surgery we drove a few hours up and surprised our friends and enjoyed a wonderful evening on the lake with great friends. A much needed distraction.
The following 5 days of waiting were the longest days of my life. Den stayed strong and didn't google anything, while I was not so good and played so many scenarios thru my head (not recommended). On Friday July 26th, we met with our Neuro-Oncologist, Richard Peterson at Noon. He had not received the official pathology report till just an hour before our appointment where he said prior to the pathology based on all he had reviewed thru the MRI, Initial pathology, years of experience he was ready to have a harder conversation with us as a lot pointed toward a Glioblastoma which is the most aggressive type of tumor however, thanks to so many prayers and good thoughts, the pathology came back showing a Grade 2 Astrocytoma which was the best news we could have received. He did explain though there is a concerning spot of the tumor which is deeper in the Corpus Callosum that showed up in the MRI but too deep for them to biopsy. However, the tumor is a IDH - Mutant which is positive as that is more indicative of a grade 2 tumor.
Due to the location of his tumor, an operation to remove part or all of it is not an option as it would cause to much damage so we were presented with two approaches to treatment, one more conservative by just doing radiation for 6 weeks, 4 weeks off and then 6 months of chemo. The other is doing both radiation and chemo the first 6 weeks, 4 weeks off and then chemo. He was leaning toward the more conservative treatment as more was pointing to a grade 2 tumor and why beat your body up more if not necessary. We were conflicted so we went and had a second opinion at the U of M where they recommended the more aggressive approach without hesitation and said there was a possible procedure where they could go in with a needle and burn part of the tumor but that would not be considered till after the first round of Radiation/Chemo and then break and 6 months of chemo. Den is not keen on having his brain opened up and anything burning in his brain, the risk is too much.
After another few days of consideration, we met back with Dr. Peterson and decided to take the more aggressive approach of treatment and blast the f*ck out of the tumor, doing both radiation and chemo for 6 weeks, 4 weeks off and then 6 months of chemo. We met with the radiology oncologist who walked us through what to expect. He then ordered another MRI to get a more up to date baseline of his brain tumor so he could most effectively map out the radiation. This was done last Saturday, August 10th, results showed some slight increase in the deeper area of the tumor but nothing alarming. If anything it just reassured us that we were taking the right approach on treatment.
Den will start his radiation this coming Wednesday August 21st, where he will go in every day M-F and will take his chemo pill every evening. He will have blood work every 2 weeks to watch his blood counts and then roughly 4 weeks after the radiation is done he will have his first MRI to see the results of treatment. The biggest side effect will be feeling exhausted, nausea is rare as he will take an anti-nausea pills prior to taking his chemo pill everyday. There is also a risk of more headaches as well. Oh and hair loss... but he has already shaved his head so that is already taken care of :)
Please continue the prayers and good thoughts. We will keep you updated on how the treatment is going. We appreciate all the love and support.