Saturday, June 4, 2011

Results from Thursday's MRI

Summer had an MRI on Thursday morning and, short of everything miraculously disappearing as if it had never been there, we couldn't have hoped for better results. The cyst is smaller than it was at her March 4th scan (stable from a HASTE MRI on 4/18), and the mass has actually shrunk by about 20%!

The doctors kept telling us it might not shrink at all, that if the radiation worked it would (hopefully) just not get any bigger. It's a good sign that everything is headed in the right direction, and that the radiation is working to control at least the mass portion of the tumor. In theory, the less mass there is, the less fluid can be generated for the cyst, but it still might be years before we can say anything even remotely definitive about the effect on the cyst.

As far as the MRI itself, Summer did extremely well with the pre-scan stuff - weight check (11.7kg or 25.74lbs, up 1kg in the last couple of months, after holding her weight at 10.7ish kg for an entire year), blood pressure, temp, etc and even asked for the anesthesiologist right when we got into the MRI triage area so she could tell him she wanted strawberry flavored gas. Jason and I can't help but laugh a little to watch this pint-size kid directing the nurses.

She went under very well, with no fuss about the face mask. Unfortunately, she didn't wake up quite as cheerful as she went down. This post is so late in coming because she was quite the handful for the entire rest of the day. Re-programming her shunt was a struggle, and we didn't get to have much of a conversation with the Heme-Onc nurse practitioner about the results. Luckily they were good results so we didn't have many questions!

Summer's next MRI will be three months out, but we'll have check-ins with ophthalmology and endocrinology in the meantime. I'm not really worried about her vision, given that the tumor and cyst have either been holding stable or getting smaller since her last eye exam. But I am especially curious to find out how her endocrinology blood work (drawn on Thursday) comes back, since we have been told it's only a matter of time before she stops producing growth and thyroid stimulating hormones.

After this clean scan I'm hoping for a bit of breathing room where I am not constantly questioning whether the shunt has failed or the cyst is growing. Last time, we made it about six weeks before I cracked and demanded another scan. I have a tough time trusting that certain changes (bigger tantrums, sometimes stumbling over words, etc.) are part of normal developmental phases and not because of the tumor. Hopefully it will only get easier as we have more good scans under our belt and Summer gets better at articulating what she's feeling.

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