For the past 8 weeks, our family has been in 'denial' mode. With Matthew's break from treatment, it's been easy and wonderful to just pretend our life is 'normal'. Without constant appointments, MRI's, and chemotherapy, we haven't talked a lot about the whole cancer/brain tumor thing. We did fish, canoe, swim, hike, play, have 4 birthday parties, vacation in Chicago, begin school, and otherwise fully enjoy the rest of our summer.
Monday afternoon we started up again with a nice refreshing dose of reality. Matt had a follow-up MRI at 7:00 Monday night (really, our appointment was at 7:00p.m. - isn't that weird?!?) Then, Monday morning he had his MRI of his brain, followed by a visit to Oncology, and finished up with a visit to his Neurosurgeon. We had an overwhelmingly positive day. First, the MRI of his brain showed the tumor was a bit smaller than it had been immediately after surgery. This, apparently, is because his brain was so swollen the day after surgery. Secondly (and this is HUGE, so brace yourselves), there were NO TUMORS IN HIS SPINE!!!!! We feel like this is a true miracle. His spine has shown marginal improvement with each spinal MRI, but to say there are no tumors is just amazing. Perhaps they were just the residual blood from when his tumor initially bled, perhaps the chemo really attacked them, but whatever they were, they are gone now! The report came back saying something about 'fatty tissue in the bone marrow' that is typical after a patient receives radiation treatment........ but Matt's never had radiation. We are so grateful for this amazing change. Lastly, his Neurosurgeon was very pleased with how well he is doing. We are so very lucky that with the size and location of Matt's tumor, coupled with 2 extremely invasive surgeries, Matt has virtually no side-effects. Some common side effects might be extreme weakness in one side, seizures, foot drop, personality changes, cognitive difficulties, etc..... Matt has none of that and our Neurosurgeon was really happy - as are we.
We know we are so blessed to be at a current 'up' in our roller coaster ride. On Monday, we learned that a friend (Karen) just hit a 'down' with her son Marcus. After a year of being 'cancer free', his tumor has returned with a vengeance, and is now tumorS. So, even in our happiness, we are sad for children who are backsliding. This disease is so awful. The ups and downs take a tremendous toll on children and families. So, as you pray and are thankful for Matt, please remember to pray and bless Marcus and his family as they continue another really difficult part of this journey.