To quote from the new Pink Panther movie (in a deep French accent):
“Let me get you up to speed.
We know nothing.
There — you are to speed”.
Actually, there are a few things we do know, although in the end it doesn’t get us much closer to an ultimate answer. We know that none of the experts are in agreement yet as to what this “thing” is. There are a couple of options; the first being relapse (henceforth referred to as “the bad one”). The second is a late-effect as a result of radiation therapy — not cancer, but a breakdown of some brain tissue that could land somewhere between a passing nuisance and something more. We’ll call this one the “not-so-bad”.
We also know that, whatever this thing is, it’s not in a place where you can easily get to it to biopsy or remove. This is complicated by a slightly different location than the initial tumor sight — not to mention a brain that has now completed a significant portion of its hard-wiring. A surgical answer is potentially risky, if possible at all.
So, the next step is a spinal tap to check and see if there are cancer cells in VB’s Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF). If there is, then we know it’s “the bad one”. If there isn’t, then we’re no closer to the truth. Meanwhile, the vast expanse of world knowledge in pediatric neuro-oncology, neurosurgery and radiology is gathering for a massive pow-wow Thursday morning to study scans, debate merits of each possibility and seek more consensus — which they most likely will not find if the CSF is “clean”.
Lastly, VM and I will pay a visit (sans little one) to meet with the lead docs on Thursday afternoon, who will present to us their best guess and get into the weeds of the unknown. The reality is we may have to wait for follow-up scans in the coming weeks to reveal more; or for symptoms to arise that would indicate one way or another — whichever comes first.
The “Waiting Place”, as Dr. Seuss would say. Fun, isn’t it?
On a technical note — knowing that things may move fast at some point, and access to blog-writing time and space isn’t always in the cards, I’ve joined the techno-happy and set myself up at Twitter. You will see a link on the right side of the page. I will use Twitter to post short updates when there’s something to share and I’m not in a place to update the blog — like “on the road”, or “in the hospital room”, or “orbiting Mars” (what — it could happen!).
Pull up a chair and stay awhile, won’t you?