After much waiting we at last have a treatment plan! Initally the doctors had refered Bill for paliative radiation only, but when we finally got to meet with a radiation oncologist she was amazed at how well he was doing and recommended a much more aggressive treatment. We were very happy to hear it!! As the doctor we were initally refered to is heading off on vacation we were transfered to Dr. Abe Alexander, who incidently was a high school friend of mine. He has spent a lot of time answering our questions and put a rush on the process allowing Bill to begin treatment more quickly then anticipated. Bill is scheduled to begin radiation and chemotherapy later this week. Radiation will take place 5 days a week for 6 weeks in addition to daily chemotherapy for the same 6 weeks followed by monthly chemo for 6 months. We are expecting this to be a challenging time as the radiation apparently causes swelling in the brain making the symptoms worse. I am envisioning something similar to the days immediately post biopsy but hoping that it will not be as severe.
The big fight begins now and we are feeling ready! We know the next few months will difficult but the love and support we are receiving keeps our spirits high.
Thank you again to everyone who has offered help. We appreciate it more than you know. Please keep the healing vibes coming our way. We are convinced they are helping!
Hooray! After six long days in the hospital recovering from the biopsy the doctors allowed Bill to come home. It took a bit of begging and promises that I would have lots of help and support but in the end they agreed! Part of the deal to allow me to bring Bill home was that we receive 'home care support'. I had no idea exactly what this meant at the time. As Bill wasn't walking well at the hospital the physical and occupational therapists appear to have ordered one of everything from Red Cross so we have a truck load of equipment to help Bill navigate around the house. Fortunately his ability to move has recovered so most of it is currently stored out of the way. In addition, I believe almost every possible health care worker in Victoria has now visited or phoned our home. We have a 24 hour quick response team, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, home care nursing, counselling, the cancer clinic, the hospice society, the list goes on....it is hard to imagine how many people are involved in making this happen. The resources are incredible and the staff who have come to check on us have been wonderful.
A few days after returning home we received the result of the biospy. Unfortunately it was not what we were hoping for. Bill has been diagnosed with a type of brain cancer called Glioblastoma (GBM). It is one of the nastiest ones out there. We will be meeting with an oncologist to determine the recommended path of treatment next week. In the mean time we are researching a variety of newer therapies and clinical trials offered in centers around the world.
Overall Bill has improved enormously from the days after the biopsy. He is feeling well but is still limited in what he can do as the tumour has affected his language processing center resulting in a loss of ability to read and write. We are hoping this will improve when treatment begins and pressure on this senstive area is further reduced.
We continue to be overwhelmed by the support we are receiving from friends and family. Thank you does not begin to cover it. We would not be getting through this without you. We are enjoying this time of 'relative' calm before treatment begins as we know the hardest part is still ahead of us!