May 2012 MRI scan
This month is one year since our fundraising launch!
Our Internet at home is down for a few days, I'm trying to post this Blog from my iPhone so I hope it works!
We've had some really good news!
Laura's had a scan on Tuesday which shows that what remains of the tumour is now at a stage where it is hardly enhancing at all on the MRI scan, the enhancement is now barely visible without magnifying the scan images heavily.
For those of you who are thinking so what does this mean? Let me just explain..
An "active" (growing/spreading) malignant tumour shows up on an MRI scan as a bright white area. This bright area represents cancerous cells and Laura's tumour used to light up like a light bulb which was bad news!! The aim of any successful treatment is to get rid of everything that enhances so you no longer have an active tumour.
So, Laura's situation to date:
- The bulk of the tumour has reduced in size by 77% since reaching her maximum tolerated dose of Antineoplastons last November (growth stabilised before hitting this dose)
- This reduction in tumour size has meant she has been able to now stop taking steroids (which are designed to reduce brain swelling but have nasty side effects - so good riddance!)
- Her epilepsy has got much better, especially in the last month. The seizures are now much less frequent.
- What's left of the tumour - to put it in very simple terms - is a cystic fluid filled cavity*
*This cavity is there from her surgery (Biopsy) which was performed in April 2011. The cavity may never dissapear, it might just stay there because brain tissue has been removed. Alternatively the cavity may break down very slowly and hopefully dissapear over time. Either way this isn't a major problem.
Laura had a chat with her doctor over the phone last night, as the last scan showed very very little enhancement they have now decided to put Laura on a "finishing program" of her antineoplastons!
If a patient is lucky enough to have their tumour stop enhancing then they are asked to carry on treatment for 8 months, then finish. This 8 month schedule allows the medicine to have time to kill the last cancerous cells that aren't showing up on an MRI scan. We are told that once people finish this schedule - in most cases - it is unlikely that the tumour will return, most people can go on to live a normal tumour free life.
Effectively this means Laura is now scheduled to finish her treatment just after Christmas! We are so thankful for how lucky we are so far.
This month marks one year since we launched our fundraising initiative to get Laura this treatment. If we didn't make this difficult decision last year and have such amazing financial and emotional support we would be having a very different time right now. So from Laura, Jacob and I - THANK YOU!!
I just wanted to say how proud I am of Laura. She was diganosed 17 months ago now and even on her hardest days she has never given up hope. The strongest most amazing person I've ever met. A credit to Jacob, who will be very proud of his mummy when he grows up!
I'll leave you with a quote: "In the field of Brain Tumours there are no 'proven' treatments, only treatments 'accepted' by a group of clinicians who practise in that field" This treatment isn't guarunteed to work for everyone, but there are many long term (10,20yr) survivors. Using traditional chemo and radiation on an inoperable GBM has no long term survivors so we cherish every day and pray that Laura's progress continues into the future.
I'll post some MRI images up here when our Internet is working again!