Today was a big day for Matt. He had scans, then a visit to Oncology, then a visit with his Neurosurgeon.
While Matt was in scans, Warren and I started to panic because it was taking a much longer time than usual. Warren went back to check on him and learned that when they had injected the contrast, it had made Matt sick and he had thrown up all over. :-( Poor boy! That's never happened before, so we hadn't come prepared with a change of clothes or anything. They found him some scrubs and he wore them the rest of the day. He looked so cute and everyone kept making Doogie Hauser jokes (which of course, he didn't get since he's only 10.........) He was embarrassed that he was sick and he was embarrassed to be wearing the scrubs but we made a joke out of it. I told him to just tell people that he had just graduated from Harvard medical school and was just starting his residency. :-) This seemed to cheer him up and by the end of the afternoon he was strutting around in true doctor fashion!
Oncology was pretty uneventful. We learned that the tumor had maybe grown a bit, but nothing huge. Dr. Lemons thought we would be fine to keep on his Temodar for the next 3 months and then re-scan.
We then went to Neurosurgery to see Dr.Walker. He did not like the look of the scans, at all. He said it doesn't seem like the chemo is doing anything and he is recommending another craniotomy to see if he can get more of the tumor out. He was really encouraged with how well Matt did with his last 2 craniotomy's and felt good about the amount of tumor he was able to remove. He wants to try again and showed us on the scans how he would go in and where he thought he could remove more tumor. We trust Dr.Walker. He has always seemed to be very familiar with Matt's case, and has a knack for being conservative at the right moments and for being aggressive at the right moments. I agree with his recommendation, but am so nervous about another major brain surgery. We've played the brain surgery lottery twice and WON! Both of his surgeries have had great outcomes with minimal ill side effects. It feels like such a gamble to go in again! But....... the risk of not going in is risking this tumor continuing to grow, affecting his quality of life, and always being there. I guess I feel like the risk of surgery is worth the possibility of the tumor being removed, or even partially removed.
Dr. Walker did give us the option of waiting until summer with scans every 6 weeks in the meantime. This scenario didn't work as well for me because, well, I'm having a baby this summer! I know, I know, Jake was our caboose - and he WAS, but apparently there is another sweet baby up there for our family. I promise you - none of you are more surprised than Warren and I! Luckily, we think babies are always the good kind of surprises.
So, summer was less than convenient for a craniotomy. Oh, also, it looks like we'll be going back to the whole radiation idea. So, not only did I need to figure out the best time for my son to have a brain surgery, I needed to figure out when, afterwards, would be the most convenient for us to be in SLC everyday for 6 weeks for radiation. Again, summer is much harder because my children do not have as much going on. People are on vacation and it's just harder to find someone to fill my shoes during the vast summer months.
Dr.Walker gave us several dates to choose from, and I think we've decided to go with December 11th (yes, yes, I know that's only 2.5 weeks away). This way, Matt only has to miss one week of school - and it's the week before Christmas which is always less than productive, anyhow. Then he's got almost 4 weeks to recover and rest before going back to school in January. Just in time, probably, to be gone for 6 weeks of radiation............
As always, we're worried about making the right decisions for Matt. It's such a fine line of allowing a child his childhood, and fighting for him to have an adulthood. We are blessed to have such wonderful doctors to help guide us. I don't feel pressured to do one thing over another. The doctors do make their recommendations (this is their job, after all!) but ultimately we have a lot of say in the matter. We're still finalizing this next step in our minds. We are praying and thinking and researching, but so far it feels like the right decision and a step in the right direction for Matt.