Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Medical Update

Hi VP's...As you might remember, the union nurse is back on break in Arizona. Our dear, dear friend Vicky (internal medicine doc from Pittsburgh) volunteered for duty while I was home trying to keep this house running. This was the week that Brenda is seeing all her doctors who are weighing in on the recent CT scans and what to do next. They will give their input to Dr. Hong and he'll decide which path to take. Since Vic was there with Brenda when she had her appointments today, she wrote and excellent medical "bullet" for you all on how today's appointment went. Here's the update:

Brenda's lymph nodes are significantly smaller.  Her white count is good and she won't need additional neupogen for this round. This morning she saw Dr. Hanna (an ENT surgeon who specializes in cranial base lesions). He did a fellowship at UPMC in Pittsburgh.  His concern is a spot on the CT scan about the size of a penny. They cannot determine if it is up against the brain (the front part behind and slightly above the nose) or through the membrane that covers the brain (the dura). If it hasn't penetrated the dura it's less complicated.  

Dr. Hanna is proposing a neurosurgical procedure to remove that lesion. That would be done by a neurosurgeon.  It would involve an incision behind the hairline from almost ear to ear.  Then they fold down the skin and make a bone window to gain access to the lesion.  They then repair the defect with her own tissue.  It's on the surface of the brain so they don't have to cut through brain tissue to get to it (that's a good thing). It's also not in an area of the brain that controls speech or movement etc. They will be scheduling an appointment to see the neurosurgeon.  If she has that surgery (because all of this is subject to change) she would be in the hospital for five days.

The blip in all this is a CT scan of the chest that showed a "prominent" diaphragmatic lymph node. It did not show any suspicious lesions in the chest, just a lymph node by the diaphram muscle that is prominent.  We see reports like this all the time in medicine and usually they are nothing. They are going to do a PET scan to look at that.  If it lights up it's suspicious.  They are very thorough here and are leaving no stone unturned.

This afternoon she saw Dr. Gillenwater. She's the ENT doctor that saw Brenda when she first got here.  She confirmed that the nodes are shrinking. She also said if they have to surgically remove any of the larger lymph nodes in her neck they would probably schedule both surgeries at the same time.

Tomorrow she sees the radiation oncologist and maybe the neurosurgeon if they can get her in. Then a big day on Thursday.  She will have a PET scan at 9AM, an audiology appointment at 1:30PM and chemo for 7 hours beginning at 3:30PM.  Then Friday another round of chemo in the afternoon.

Hope this helps,

Vicky (AKA: Ribby)

So there you have it...the ping pong balls are still in the air, but like Vic says...they really leave no stone unturned at MD Anderson and that's exactly what Brenda needs. We're going to nail this thing!!! Can you all say CURE!!! Remember those words the psychic said..."Good as New!"

Vic will send another update to me tomorrow and I'll get it posted when the radiological oncologist weights in. Keep those prayers and good energy going Brenda's way...they are helping her heal.

Fix-It Dee



  1. Hey chemo sabe, Nurse Dee and Dr. Vic,
    Thanks for the update and rest assured the east coast "CURE" and "GOOD AS NEW" vibes are working on over drive. I know it might sound a bit overwhelming with the new discoveries, but as Vic said - they found them and already have a plan. That is important as we all move with you toward a cure.
    Chemo sabe I think we need to have a review here. The first surgery resulted in excising the gross tumor AND included removal of the nasal septum. Now I have not worked in a hospital for a few years, but I do recall all the 'nose jobs' were diagnosed as deviated septums for insurance purposes. Coincidence - perhaps ;)
    As Vic explained, when they do the neurosurgery, they will most likely make incisions at the hairline and I am sure the closure will involve some "tightening" of the facial skin. So my point, and yes I do have one, is that once you are cured, perhaps we should be rephrasing the "Good as New" to "Better than New" with all the cosmetic enhancements :) If I hear one procedure that includes collagen to the lips, well then I will be ROTFLMAO!!
    Keep smiling - in terms of improvement, laughter seems to create shrinkage. Shrinkage is good (unless you're a guy). Who knows what medicinal properties your upcoming "fiddlin' hoe" concert will possess. Bonnie and Jackie - we are anxiously waiting.
    Good night for now. Love you guys!!!!

  2. Thanks for the comprehensive report! You are definitely in the right place, Brenda, to receive top advice and treatment in every area. To make the baseball connection with MD Anderson, 'covering all bases' means that you'll hit a home run. We're counting on that! I love the "Better Than New" idea.

    The Texas Has Talent 'fiddlin hoe' performance is on hold for the time being until Brenda is strong enough to perform. Nurse Dee, the talent scout organizer, has agreed to make that decision.

    Meanwhile, Chemo Sabe, write "I will be 'Better Than New' when my treatments are finished", put it under your pillow, and think that thought whenever you're resting. Our healing energy continues to flow your way!
    xoxo, Bonnie and Jackie

  3. Thanks for the intense update... and I definitely like the mantra "better than new"... so let's all start chanting... we are focusing our healing energies, reiki & positive thoughts on Brenda & Nurse Dee as always... and many thanks for Dr Vicky for doing respite & translations...
    Blessings & Love
    Cathie & Evelyn