Henry's Blog

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Lamar Blinked

Last night Henry stopped eating after 7pm, anticipating the anesthetic required to endure a three-hour full spinal MRI. Following our blood test at the clinic, we arrived for the MRI to discover that the order was only for a cranial scan and that no anesthesiologist was scheduled. By the time one could arrive it would be too late for a meeting with the surgeon. We proceeded with the shorter cranial scan that did not require sedation (and was all we really needed anyway). Once again, however, Henry was denied food and had to endure a procedure (access to his porta-cath) for no reason. Henry did great with the thirty-minute MRI and we then went to the neurological center to meet the surgeon, who gave us a quick assessment after a brief view of the MRI results. More information will come following a complete analysis.

In a nutshell: the tumor has shrunk about 30%. This falls right where we had been led to expect/hope for; no one believed in a chemo miracle that would shrivel the ependymoma to nothingness. The goal was to shrink the tumor for easier surgical removal, and that was achieved. Perhaps more important, the scan suggests the possibility of some consolidation of the tumor. That would mean the tumor is pulling itself together in places and, perhaps, pulling away from some brain tissue. That would be an enormous benefit to the surgery, and increase the chances for removing the tumor without damaging parts of the brain. This effect, however, will only be confirmed during the actual surgery.

The remaining tumor consists of two parts connected through a small chamber. The first should be easier to access and easier to remove. The second is in a more precarious place, and positioned next to the brain stem. The small connection through the chamber may exist in a "blind spot," that may not be visible during the surgery, and removal in that area only confirmed by a post-surgery MRI.

Follow-up therapy still plans to include standard radiation for several weeks. Another possible follow-up therapy is the "Gamma Knife," which sends multiple, simultaneous low doses of radiation carefully pinpointed. Where these low doses converge a larger dose is created, causing a high application of radiation at the target with minimal effect on the surrounding areas. This technique is best for recurrence and tumors smaller than one centimeter.

For now, we still await the scheduling of the next surgery. Our surgeon wants to make sure that Henry is fully recovered from the chemo and is considering around November 1 (subject to discussion with the oncologists, radiologists, his own surgical schedule, etc.).

The absence of an earth-shattering miracle has left us somewhat less than elated. However, we received no bad news, just the sober reminder of the reality we face. And the good news, that the treatment plan is working, is very good news indeed.

We had a lot of prayers, positive vibes, and wonderful thoughts coming to us all day today from family, friends and individuals who have been so concerned and dedicated to supporting Henry's progress.

We really could not do it without you.


Anonymous Mark Leslie said...

Dear Henry, Terry and Cynthia,

I just wanted to let you all know that I have been thinking about you and that I did not know, until today, that this great blog was here.

Henry, I hope that with the promising news, even if less than originaly hoped for, of the treatments working that I might get to see the return of a "Psycho Kitty" drawing or two. I think posting a couple of those might be kind of fun. Or, do you think that is only our twisted sense of humor and that regular people might not understand the immense power of "Psycho Kitty"?

As with all true artists, I leave it in your capable hands!

Much love and Godspeed,
Mark Leslie

7:04 PM  
Blogger bean said...

What great news!!!! I have thought about all of you all day. It is wonderful that the plan is working. Henry, being so brave is what is making this work....

10:10 PM  
Blogger Grandma said...

I am so thankful that you got a good report. Lamar is leaving the country and I Know prayers have been answered. My church has beem in prayer for you since we heard about your bout with Lamar, surely he has got the message by now.
I heard you got lots of caps and hats, you can wear what you want everyday.
Your Mom & Dad are so thankful you are over the 1st. big hill, the next one should be much easier. Hope your appitite is better. We are still getting tomatoes from our little garden, they are so good. Penton likes the little cherry tomatoes about the size of cherries or marbles.
You are such a brave young man I am thankful you are doing better. Keep up the spirit and we will keep praying for you.
Charistmas will soon be here, Shane, Scottie and Penton are busy decorating for Halloween. You should see their yard and house when they get it all together.
Love, Grandma Dot

3:24 PM  
Blogger Aunt Carroll said...

Hi Henry, Cynthia and Terry,

I am sure glad that this week is behind you as I know it has been a week filled with much anxiety. The report sounds good to me, it appears the chemo had an effect on Lamar which is certainly what we were all hoping for. I think any percentage of damage to Lamar is certainly a positive thing. I hope now you can have a little time to play, go to school and enjoy Halloween. You deserve a break from chemo, tests and feeling icky. I am so grateful for the ability to check on you and find out exactly what is going on. This site is so perfect, your dad does such a good job explaining all of the procedures, results and just how you are on a day to day basis. It is wonderful as we want to know all the time how you feel and what you are doing.

You precious boy, we love you so,
Aunt Carroll

12:23 PM  
Blogger buggie said...

Hey Cermaks,

I am so glad to find out about your blog----and to know that you are beating up on Lamar.I know this has been a hard time for all of you, but you are all strong and
with God's help will get through all right. I remember you at Simbo's beach house and hope that we'll be there together soon having a blast doing the beach.
You all are always in my heart.
Bug, or Applehead, or The ol bat (Sim's favorite) or just Norma

7:10 PM  

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