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Test Results for Mikey’s Brain Lesion

March 6, 2014

Test results are slow and steady in the tumor world, but we have an appointment for next Tuesday (03/11/2014) with the neurosurgeon, radiologists, and oncologists to gather more detailed questions and form a plan of attack for what is left in my head. They removed the majority of the tumor but the brain being as wrinkly as it is couldn’t get it all.

The news is ever so slightly worse than we expected, but I would hardly say its bad news, at all.

The tumor sample came back as a:
“PRIMARY, LOW GRADE, STAGE 3, ANAPLASTIC GLIONEURONAL TUMOR.”

Image

The air pocket is normal (surprisingly) but the darker area on this CT scan (area of my finger) shows the location of the baseball-sized tumor. (Note the CT scan works from the direction of the feet. So, it really is the left if looking up.)

I’ll try to unpack it for yinz:

DEFINITIONS:
A “PRIMARY” tumor means that it is not a tumor that has spread from another part of the body. It originated from within the brain.

“LOW GRADE LEVEL 3” represents the:
“Level of aggressive division among the cells or how quickly the cells are dividing.”

This means that while most of the cells within the tumor are dividing at a “Stage 2” level of aggressiveness, there are instances of “Stage 3” division in the sample. An exact percentage is probably unknowable (nerd time!).

The word “ANAPLASTIC” indicates that the tumor is either a Stage 3 or 4 which is a malignant and abnormally forming cancerous tumor.

The term “GLIONEURONAL” identifies the source of the brain cells as what are called the glial cells which are abnormally dividing.

I think one consideration that adds a source of hope is, as Katie Czucjecko Paynter may say, “location, location, location!” Being in the left frontal lobe of the cerebrum it’s basic cognitive function skirts all the autonomic functions of the body while processing thinking, learning, problem solving, emotions, speech, reading, writing, and voluntary movement. The idea that the tumor was located on the exterior portion of my skull means that there’s only one thing between the outside world and what they left of the tumor – a thin layer of bone! It’s not hidden in the brain stem or under the pituitary gland. I feel that it has shown itself and is just waiting to be plucked. And I’m ok with that! I feel I could not have been luckier for it to be located where it was. It could have been much, much worse.

Radiation and chemotherapy will occur so we’ll have to wait until Tuesday to find out the level of therapy and discover how it will affect my personal treatment.

All I know is that I would much rather the doctor’s overtreat my tumor and get rid of it than under treat it and have it come back from remission.

If anyone wants to know more about brain tumors, the best place we’ve found is:
braintumor.org
It has easy to read definitions and avoids professional research styled work (aka, it tells you what you need to know!). So, check it out if you’re interested!

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