Posted 1/14/16 at 10:50 p.m.
Yesterday we got an email from Dr. Yamashiro saying that he’d reviewed Ana’s last CT scan with Dr. Connolly, the Radiation Oncologist who performed radiation on Ana’s left lung in March, and she was concerned about one of the larger tumors in Ana’s right lung. I think it may be the largest tumor – it’s about 5 cm. He said they were worried the tumor could soon obstruct the bronchi of the lung and cut off air flow and that she needed to get three weeks of radiation – 5 days/week.
We didn’t have anymore information than this last night, so we chose not to tell Ana right before bed or in the morning (right before school). Dr. Yamashiro called us around 10 this morning and explained that this was the same type of radiation that Ana had in March, but because of where the tumor is, they can’t hit it with very high doses of radiation or they might damage some of the surrounding healthy tissue. The other tumor was in an ideal spot to zap, but this one is a bit trickier so they’re going to have to hit it with lower dose radiation over a longer period of time. There are almost no side effects to this treatment except for skin irritation at the site of the beam. Also, an interesting side note, Ana started the Everolimus again – this is a drug that is given to adults with metastatic kidney cancer, but it’s also an immunosuppressant. Apparently this drug works well in combination with radiation. Ana was only on the drug for a few weeks before the pelvic tumors made themselves known and she had to stop taking it prior to surgery.
This will be another slice out of Ana’s life that she’ll have to give up to treatment. The biggest impact will be missed school, but there’s also a lot of travel involved. Yup, we’re going to drive her DAILY to and from the city. Since the treatments themselves are so short, we’re hoping to schedule them mid morning so she’d be done early in the day and could be home by 2 or 3 p.m. We were originally thinking about staying in or near the city during the week, but I think it will be too depressing for Ana to be stuck in a hotel (or, more likely, the Ronald McDonald House) when she’s so close to home. Coming home each night to reconnect with her room, her cat and her friends is what she needs.
I was dreading telling Ana. She’s starting to feel a lot better and she was in a great mood when I picked her up from the bus stop today. I finally told her at around 6 p.m. She handled it really, really well. I think she was terrified I had more bad news and so when I explained what Dr. Yamashiro wanted to do, she said, “Oh. I can live with that. I mean, I’m going to hate it. It will suck.” And that was that. She went back to watching reruns of Buffy and chased me out of her room.
Jim’s going to do the brunt of the driving so that I can stay home and work. I missed a ton of work around the holidays because of Ana’s surgery (I spent about ten days in the hospital with her). Since I run my own business, I can’t be absent for another few weeks or I risk not having a business…
I think I’m going to need a little help with dinners. I’m not a cook and since Jim (my meal ticket) will be driving so much and probably too tired to cook, I know that Emily and I will end up living on Adam’s salads and fast food. So, to all those locals who have offered to make me a meal, now’s your chance! I’m not sure the best way to organize it yet. I’ll think about that.