MRI = Good News!
The impending January 27th MRI has come & gone – and the news is good! The initial tumor-free read was confirmed by UCSF late Wednesday evening. We are so gratefully relieved to have a reprieve.
The weeks leading up to the recent MRI were shrouded in another severe headache, swelling at the surgery site and some nausea. Likely these were effects from over-doing it out of the gates – skiing, working in bitterly cold conditions, etc. – in combination with beginning chemo and catching bug of some kind. In spite of the chills that Luke was experiencing, it took some time to shake the sickness. It all equated to weighty concern for this upcoming MRI – knowing, as we do now, that anything could happen.
Luke’s been relatively low-key for the last few weeks, hoping to dissipate his fluid-filled temple. After this recent headache, his head became more swollen than anytime after the 2nd surgery, which was obviously disconcerting. UCSF’s on-call resident helped us navigate the height of the headache and swelling. Everyone there has generously continued to offer support as Luke works through the re-absorbtion of this mysterious fluid to get back to the new normal.
No shortage of travelers to the valley means that we got to rendezvous with two sets of old friends during their Teton Valley vacations, over the past two weekends. Since Luke was taking it easy, he watched Elsa, while I entertained on the slopes. He got to cross paths and high-five all parties, but stayed true to his word and kept his activities to a minimum, while I had to take up arms and ski for the family – a torch I was happy to carry.
Luke got word from UCSF that he could try wrapping his head with an ace bandage to help reduce the swelling. The first time he did this we were flabbergasted. An hour afterwards, the point of concern was entirely devoid of fluid and swelling. Of course, it readily returned, but it was still impressive.
After reviewing the recent MRI, the neuro-surgical team determined that he popped a surgical point straining – likely vomiting during his recent illness. Today they informed him that more rest is the necessary answer to fully alleviate and put an end to the swelling & fluid. He’s basically back to activity levels reserved for surgical recovery until it abides. While this could be another 2-3 weeks, we’re hopeful that the rest he’s taken over the last two weeks will come into account and that things should clear up quickly.
We’ve been staying entertained with the phenomenal snow sculptures that adorned our local Main Street last week, skiing when possible and a little hockey when it’s cold enough for the ice. Thinking up new, acceptable recipes is an on-going task, but like the moose-shi pictured below (sushi with cooked moose) suggests, sometimes we come across winners. Luke and Elsa have also been busy tying flies, which is a great way to pass the winter evenings. Elsa’s flies are pretty consistently pink and purple – she does them almost entirely by herself. A great father/daughter activity for long nights and dark mornings.
Originally, Luke celebrated the good MRI read with a full day of work – so ready to embrace normalcy. I had the same plan, but EB must have been housing a degree of our angst. Wednesday morning I could see the weight temporarily lifted from Luke’s shoulders and a lighter him greet the new day after the initial good review; EB, on the other hand, looked ashen and had a tummy ache followed by purges – all our angst, housed in a little body, released and washed down the drain – good riddens. Luckily she was on the mend by noon and made a hasty recovery.
Luke will have another MRI in 2 months. In the mean time he just started his 2nd round of chemo – 4 days late – after a hellish week+ trying to attain the chemo drugs that were sitting at our local pharmacy from our new insurance. I’m guessing this involved 10-15 hours on the phone when you add up the time myself, the Jackson doctor’s office and the super helpful staff at the Corner Drug spent on the phone – lost in the prior-authorization bureaucracy of the insurance system. Seriously ridiculous. I could go on, but won’t. Thankfully, we’re back on track. He’s a couple of days into the 2nd round of chemo and feeling well. We can expect a minimum of 6 months/rounds of chemo and possibly 12 depending on how things look going forward.
We can’t thank our local & extended communities – our friends, family and employers – enough for the lengths that everyone’s gone to in order to ensure the rest of our lives run smoothly and seamlessly forward.
We’re grateful. We’re happy. We’re hopeful.