Sorry to have created another cliff hanger by not posting about this until a few days late. Life got in the way. Which is a good thing, because if it’s still getting in the way that means it’s still there.
But sorry if any of you were worried. And thank you for being worried.
The MRI was good! I got to wear my own pants since they didn’t have a zipper, the contrast needle didn’t hurt too much and I didn’t get nauseous. I was seen very quickly, and the scan lasted about 30 minutes, which I loved because then I had plenty of time to sleep and to meditate and to listen to the new age classical piano music they put on for me. And afterward, me and Dr. Who talked about the Eagles game the previous night, which was pretty damn exciting and (we hope) a sign of great things to come. Including (I hope) a Super Bowl before my brain decides to explode. That would be nice. Then I could really go out happy.
But oh, back to my brain!
But oh, back to the MRI!
The MRI results were good!
The hole inside my brain is still there. If you’re curious about this hole, it always will be there, cancer or no cancer. The brain doesn’t fill back in completely to re-occupy the tumor cavity. The cavity just fills up with cerebrospinal fluid and stays like that. Forever. Which is normal and isn’t a problem. Or so I’m told.
The good news about the MRI is: like the last few MRIs, the cavity where the tumor was seems to have less and less of a “white halo” around it.
This white halo, if you’ll remember, has been there since the beginning, but has slowly been getting smaller.
The whiteness itself could represent two things:
1) Cancer, or
2) regular non-cancerous brain tissue that is just healing, or R.N.C.B.T.T.I.J.H. (In other words, healthy brainy tissue that is just inflamed and straightening itself out after all the radiation, chemo, vaccine, etc.)
The only way to know if it is/was #1 or #2 would have been to crack my brain open again and biopsy it. But rather than do that, you can just keep an eye on it and see what happens. That has been our approach.
And what has happened, over the last 6 months, is that the white halo has gotten smaller and smaller.
Now you can barely see it at all (it doesn’t even look like a Scooby Doo ghost anymore!)
What this means is two things:
1) Whatever we did and are doing in terms of treatment is working. For now. Whatever cancer is/was in there is not growing or spreading. For now. (I repeat “for now” because this kind of cancer usually— if not always— winds up changing its mind about coming back to the party. And that’s just the troof, Roof. That’s why it pretty much always kills everybody who gets it. Until now! (Maybe;) )
2) Since it has been shrinking this whole time, we can now say that the white halo probably never was cancer. Cancer cells would have been growing, because that’s what they do. Because the halo was shrinking, now we can say with a good degree of confidence that it very likely was just healing tissue that whole time. So it may very well be that the surgery & the chemo and the radiation did a heckuva job rummy getting most if not all of the GBM cells OUTTAAHEEEEEERE!
So the results are good in two ways: they mean I’m stable right now, and they also mean that for the last 6-8 months, things have been good inside my head (physiologically, if not emotionally and intellectually).
So those are the results. And they are good. For now.
To celebrate those results, I went and saw my fellow GBM pal George Gershwin. Earlier in the day I’d noticed that the LA Phil was going to be performing some Gershwin that very same night at the Hollywood Bowl (which is very likely my favorite thing about Los Angeles), so when I got my good GBM MRI news (GGBMMRIN), I felt like going Gershwin would be an appropriate way to celebrate. And so I went! And it was lovely.
As it turns out, if I didn’t already love George Gershwin’s music (I did), I love it even more now that I have brain cancer. Because, as it turns out, George Gershwin died of the very same brain cancer that I have: Glioblastoma Multiforme. And he died at the very same age I am about to turn: 38 years old. AND he died at the very same hospital I go to for my chancey treatment: Cedars Sinai! (At the time it was called Cedars of Lebanon. As in the bologna. Mmmmmm…. Lebanon bologna.)
Not only that, Gershwin’s tumor first reared its ugly brain-head 77 years ago, when he passed out at a piano only a few blocks away from my house.
Not only that, Gershwin used to love jogging around the Hollywood Hills, just like I do. Even after he got brain cancer, just like I do. Apparently I’m a lot like George Gershwin. I wish I was more like George Gershwin (except for the dying at 38 part).
77 years later, by the age of 38, I will have written… this blog. And maybe a book. And a bunch of screenplays that have never been made.
But maybe one of them will! Maybe the one I’m working on right now, which is about cancer. It’s no Rhapsody in Blue, it’s something else.
I really think it’ll be Somethin’ Else.
I think George Gershwin will probably be in it. And I think I will too.
I hope you get to see it.
Turns out I’ve got some work to do, before I die.
And even before I turn 38.
I’d better hurry up…