Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Anatomy and non-anatomy

Dr. Patel and my brain
When there are more than three brain mets, the risk that there are other mets too small to detect is very, very high. That's why they are going to zap the whole thing. (I have about 15, some of which are tiny, and one is 3cm wide.) The dosage - or is it voltage? - is lower, and overall it sounds like it could be less problematic than the five weeks of pelvic radiation I had before.

He asked me to do all sorts of things to test balance, etc., and I passed it all with flying colors: no symptoms of brain mets whatsoever, and no swelling showing up on the MRI. And yet I am taking steroids (reduces swelling) that knot up my chest like a vise grip, and that's with only taking half of what I'm supposed to for the last few days. After a week of radiation, if there is still no swelling, I can stop taking them.

I won't go into too much detail on the possible side effects. Primarily skin irritation, hair loss (in a "reverse Mohawk pattern" - awesome - mostly after the radiation is finished), and some loss of cognitive function.

He asked if I want to try a drug called Memantine for six months (remember the radiation is only for 10 days!) It's a drug developed for dementia that reduces cognitive decline from whole brain radiation. (If you want to read more about it, here's an article.) He suggested it for me because he expects that I might actually live long enough for it to matter whether I have reduced cognitive function. We were all a bit surprised to hear this. I suppose that I still seem very much alive, and doctors seem to think this means something! In any case one patient he tried to give the drug to couldn't handle it - it made her dizzy.

I told him I was worried about my lungs going wrong while we're working on the brain stuff. He said I could conceivably start chemo a week after radiation is over. Kind of wonder if I'm going to have the stamina for that, but maybe that will depend on how my lungs feel.

Clarion alley
I went over to Oakland today and got a shamanic healing from Alan. It involved a lot of sound, and it was a really wonderful. It brought me back to my heart, which is easy to separate from now that it feels so amazingly tense. It brought me back from the realm of the purely practical and anatomical, to a feeling of deep relaxation, tenderness and love.

Another very full day. Started the meditation course with Hridayashri and Robin tonight...and texts and emails and scheduling between everything else...


  1. Stop making googly eyes at my boyfriend.

  2. Wow, I think we'll need to get a consult with your GBF buddies about a stellar comb-over....