What’s new and “newsworthy”?


Not much! In the world of cancer, it’s good to be “boring”! It’s almost unreal to look back to 2013-2015, when brain MRI’s were three pages long, and included an itemized list of each tumor’s location, size, and treatment status. My current report… one single page… and not even an entire page. It’s a portion of a page, with lots of room for double spacing. LOL!

Geek speak: Postoperative changes from bilateral temporoparietal craniotomies are again seen with areas of gliosis and susceptibility artifact in the temporal lobes reflective of posttreatment changes, unchanged from prior. No developing T1 hyperintense foci. No new areas of suspicious enhancement is identified. Nonspecific scattered foci… small multifocal areas of susceptibility artifact… blah blah blah… similar compared to prior study… stable… patent… unremarkable… clear… No evidence of disease progression.

Blonde terminology: There is nothing new to see here.

thorough and comprehensive
going through clinic notes

But the news gets even better! Does everyone remember Mike’s cat “Joey”? He was the long term occupant of the left occipital lobe. Even after Mike left, Joey chose to hang around… for YEEEEEARS. The latest imaging report doesn’t mention Joey. He left! Gone! Not even a footprint in the brain mush where he used to be. Joey was the one spot we would ask about at EVERY follow up appointment. Oddly enough, this time, we did not. So how did we find out that Joey went away and wasn’t just lumped in with the rest of the “nonspecific scattered foci”? I’m a reader. I’m also a bit of an internet “stalker”. Or maybe I’m just “thorough” and “comprehensive”? That sounds better… right? Anyway, I learned of Joey’s disappearance, because I read the brain genius doc’s clinic notes about our visit. Hey, if it’s on my patient portal, I’ve read it, reviewed it, graded it, and/or been judgy about it… LOL! Those who know me well, know that I have exceedingly high standards. My brain genius is a genius, and I don’t throw that term around lightly. No judgy call or red ink on his clinic notes. I was utterly impressed that he mentioned the disappearance of Joey, particularly given that we forgot to ask him about it while at the clinic! Bonus kudos for his diligence. “There is also disappearance of the enhancing left occipital lesion measuring a couple of millimeters last seen in December 2020. This is even upon review of the coronal thin-sliced images…” YAAAAS!

The body CT was equally “boring”. Same old scar tissue where the lung lobe came out. Same old cyst on the tail of the pancreas… although, even that has shown a slow but sure reduction in size over the last 3 scans. Huh. Both my body and my brain have become inhospitable environments! I hope the COVID bug is paying attention! Speaking of which, yes, I got both doses of Pfizer.

Sooooo… clean brain, clean body, clean blood labs, nothing new growing on the surface of the skin. I check out like a normal, healthy human being! Hell, I’ve even had my teeth cleaned and my lady parts gone over! I see my fabulously diligent derm in another month. My next CT has been pushed out to a YEAR! I don’t have to experience another contrast smoothie until 2022! BOOYAH! Next brain check in a wee bit over 6 months. I convinced the doc to slip it a little, so I could “herd the cats” and stack a few follow up appointments into one trip. Not that each and every doc on the team isn’t worth the 180 mile trip juuuust to see them… buuuuuut… I’m a busy “retiree” with things to do and non-medical people to see! LOL!

What else is going on:

American Brain Tumor Association asked me and Frank to share in the “meet the patients/caregivers” portion of their latest webinar. You can find “Insight into the Brain Metastases Journey” here. If you’re not interested in all of the learning and science, you can skip forward to the last chunk of the meeting at 4:36:11 for the patient portion. Although, I would highly recommend also catching what Michael Parsons PhD had to say about “Focus on quality of life”. He’s got some useful tips whether you’re a cancer patient or not. He can be found at 3:41:53.

Frank and I also recently met with a media crew, who spent the afternoon interviewing us for a video promo they’ve been hired to put together for USC’s Department of Radiation Oncology. No word as to when that will be completed yet. I’m sure it’s a tremendous undertaking with all of the doc interviews and video footage needed. Picking through footage and making editing cuts would be the really daunting part of the process! Hopefully we gave them something useful!

Running! Yay! —- I’ve got a few things in the works for this year. First on the list… another half marathon. Yup, 13.1 miles of beautiful Ventura coastline! This one should be extra fun, as I get to watch my niece snare her first official finishers medal! She has already completed the distance on her own, but a finish at an organized event has a whole different feel to it. Beer and street tacos at the finish! Also on the run schedule, a sweet 10k happening in September in Santa Barbara. These places I run… it’s so awful… right? No scenery at all. But hey, we all have to suffer in our own way. Aaaaand last, but certainly not least… a brain tumor research fundraiser 5k for ABTA! I’ll be running with one of my “Brain Tumor Besties”, Wendy and her team 2nd Chance 2 Live.

seriously though… : D

Still here reading? Are you that bored? Okay… here’s one more thing for you to spend your time on… my toe dip into radio each Friday morning. I think I spend more time updating the website than I do in the studio. But hey, if it keeps me away from running shoe shopping… LOL!

Niki News June 2021
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