Treatment update

Over the Christmas Holidays, Natasha became aware that her left arm and leg were becoming weaker.  She requested an appointment with her oncologist to get tested.  That appointment resulted in the confirmation that she is getting weaker, and an MRI was scheduled.

The MRI happened Monday January 4, and the next day we spoke to Natasha’s oncologist about the results.

The MRI back in August showed a 15% reduction size of the tumor (attributed to the radiation treatments that ended July 2).  The MRI in November showed no increase in size.  This recent scan shows that the tumor has started to grow slightly.  The oncologists expect that the growth will continue.  Our conversation with the oncologist covered the current availability of trials, treatments available here in Calgary, what to expect if the tumor continues to grow, and palliative care services available to us.

Providing a second round of radiation is a new approach.  Many hospitals won’t provide this.  There are a handful of cases that do, however, show this to be safe and life extending.  The oncologist recommended a second round of radiation.

We then had the conversation with Natasha, letting her know that the tumor has grown.  She was not surprised by this, but incredibly sad to have it confirmed.  Her immediate response was “I will do radiation again.”  Knowing how unpleasant the sessions were for her last June, this was a powerful statement.  We then explained that radiation is a treatment, not a cure – AND – we still hold on to hope.

We’ve since spoken to the Radiation Oncologist to discuss the details.  We will likely begin the preparations next week: Natasha will get a new mask made and have a scan for precise measurements of her anatomy.  Those scans will be layered with the MRI scans of the tumor.  This provides the basis of the intricate calculations required for the treatments.  Her first round included 31 treatments.  This time it will be about ½ of that.  The first treatment is aimed at February 1.

We still hold on to hope.  We humbly pray, asking God to heal Natasha.  When we ask Natasha what her prayer request is to God, she says. “I want to live and stay with my family.  It’s pretty simple.”