Pippa Rea

Pippa's Journey with a Brain Tumour

9 months in

Yesterday was 9 months since a lump the size of a golf ball was found inside Pippa’s brainstem.  Our options have been nothing other than to kill it and Pippa’s doctors have attacked the tumour as aggressively as it attacked her.

The anticipation, anxiety, trepidation, stress and worry leading up to an MRI scan is unbearable.  Not knowing what is going on inside, but knowing that soon you will be updated rips you apart in every direction.  Holding all that together on the outside is exhausting.

Yesterday evening Pippa’s oncologist rang me.  He was sitting in front of Pippa’s scan from the day before and could easily see a shrinkage in its size.  Death to tumour is our ultimate goal; shrinkage to tumour is an unexpected bonus!

We have a very happy little family in our house at the moment but we all know there is still a long path ahead of us.  And just to remind us poor Pippa has spent the night with another sore tummy and then provided a slight interruption to writing this blog this morning for a vomit.

For the time being I feel that we are one step ahead of the tumour and I can’t wait to see the pics for myself next week.

 

 

 

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Patience

For the third cycle now Pippa’s blood counts are too low for too long.  It’s not a major concern, just a small and apparently rather interesting problem that needs solving.  Although now behind on her treatment plan, she continues to be healthy, happy and full of life.  As the plan is written in sand anyway I’m not to be  bothered by it especially as her doctor is not – he just has to figure out the best way to overcome it.  We will make the drive back again to Melbourne on Sunday ready for Monday morning and more blood tests that will hopefully allow chemo treatment.

To think that I am even using the phrase, “hopefully chemo treatment”!

On the upside, Pippa’s MRI report is one, singular word – Stable.

I don’t think I have ever used a singular word to describe anything in my whole life!  I certainly haven’t used a single word to “do” anything!  This one little word doesn’t tell me a whole lot but apparently it is the best outcome for an MRI result and more importantly, it screams to me patience at a time when I’m getting really itchy feet.  I guess the weekly drive down for low blood counts is also teaching me the same lesson.

Seven and a half months ago I literally collapsed into the the doctor who delivered me the very first piece of numbing news.  I still cannot believe the daily conversations I now have, the words I have to learn and the information I have to process.  I had to be patient to get a diagnosis that could be worked with and treated, patient to wait for the steroids to do their job, patient through radiation, patient for an MRI scan that could be read and now patient to get a consistent treatment plan and continue with what lies ahead.   Pippa, although still not missing a beat, is the most patient of all.  Never complaining about numerous appointments, treatments, tests nor the thousands of kilometres that we travel.  She happily went off to school on the first day of the school year full of excitement to see her friends and teacher but completely OK that she would miss the second one and most of the third.

Pippa (along with her understanding and patient brothers as well)  is certainly teaching me some life lessons.

School for 2014

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Sorry, No Pic of an MRI……..

A full day at hospital today also included an MRI that we had not told anyone about.  I have quickly learnt that keeping a poker face and holding MRI appointments close to my chest is a much simpler way to deal with the anticipation.  Unfortunately, it also seems to bring secret tears as I sit through the scan.

The result however, has proved worth it.  Whilst reading an MRI like this takes many weeks of intricate comparison to the previous scans, Pippa’s oncologist was very keen to have an “unqualified”  look for himself.  He is happy and can see some positive signs in the pictures so far.  This at last (after 5 and a half months of surgery and treatment) matches something solid and medical on the inside with what we see on the outside.  It also, I imagine, motivates and confirms for him that despite the length, the twists and turns and the intersections without directionsthe road he is following is perhaps the right one.

I should have taken a photo of Pippa in the MRI tunnel to placate my mother who likes to see photos on every blog.  Better still, I should have taken a sound recording of the most boring 45 minutes I always have to sit and ‘vibrate’ my way through whilst Pippa gets to watch a movie.  I didn’t.  I thought instead about my grandmother, Nellie, and secretly thanked my cousin who recently reminded me that her strength is passed through all of us and she sees it so clearly in Pippa and I.  Then I shed a few tears.

Now, I’m drinking bubbles and Pippa’s celebrating with another, in some ways slightly stronger and more aggresive than previously, course of chemotherapy.

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