December 27, 2018

BODY: (Sept 26)

“Stable pleural redundancy of the right lung base. No suspicious nodules or lymphadenopathy. Stable 1.7 cm pancreatic cyst. No significant new finding compared to prior imaging of 5-29-18″

Everything is a lovely shade of boring.

Seriously though… this is EXCELLENT news, and has allowed me to stretch the CT’s out to 6 months! My intestines are already excited about this prolongation.

BRAIN: (Oct 30)

“Multiple previously treated lesions are seen scattered throughout the brain parenchyma with associated small areas of gradient susceptibility and encephalomalacia within the parietal lobes bilaterally.” — Well that’s a lot of big and scary sounding words. Who feels like doing some sciency learning stuff? You too!? Ooooh goodie… because here we go….

Parenchyma — noun ANATOMY

  1. the functional tissue of an organ as distinguished from the connective and supporting tissue.

Gradient susceptibility — in plain English, this means the imaging shows where any little tiny pools of blood or iron may be deposited. When melanoma tumors break down (in my case, this follows a radiation blast), they bleed. Soooo… previously gamma zapped lesions can leave a “brain scab” that’s detected via susceptibility weighted imaging.

Encephalomalacia — a serious form of brain damage, caused by an injury or inflammation. —- WAIT WAIT WAIT… HOLD THE HORSES… no. I need to find a better definition… give me a minute here. “Brain damage”… let’s not have that noted in writing. Let’s use this instead —- “the softening or loss of brain tissue after cerebral infarction, cerebral ischemia, infection, craniocerebral trauma, or other injury. The term is usually used during gross pathologic inspection to describe blurred cortical margins and decreased consistency of brain tissue.” — I’m ok with softening or loss of brain tissue. That somehow holds less negative connotation than “brain damaged”. Although, that might be a useful excuse to pull out as needed. Hmmmm…

Do you feel a little smarter now? Yes? Good, my job is done. No? Well hey… at least you’re not brain damaged… so you’ve got that goin’ for you… right? Oh sorry, you’re like me and you do have brain damage? Yikes… let’s break this down into the simple and important terms — The meat and potatoes: “In comparison to 7-24-18, no evidence of disease progression. Interval stability of 3 mm enhancing focus in the left occipital lobe and additional punctate enhancing focus just anterior to this lesion. Stable appearance of multiple previously treated lesions.” — 3 mm of “Joey” still hanging out in the back of my brain, along with his “punctate” lil neighbor (or pet squirrel). No real worries, unless they start packing on weight, or inviting new lesions to the party. No evidence of disease progression. That’s the most important puzzle piece.  

OTHER LIFE HAPPENINGS — Now that life has gotten “good and boring”, where do we go from here? Body scans have moved to 6 month intervals, as long as they continue to remain clear. Brain scans are at 3 months. If Joey and his new neighbor behave themselves, things can continue on a smooth treatment free path. Am I cured? Nobody can claim that one way or another. I’m now classified as being in a “long and durable remission”.  It’s really a nice place to be. None of us can predict or completely control our futures. That’s both a stark reality to face and a launching pad for hope. Mull that around your clean skull for a little while… then go make plans for something FUN to do in 2019!

I have two goals for the new year….

  1. Push boundaries
  2. **see kitty below**
Niki News Dec 2018