1. The neurosurgeon appointment went very well. The doctor is very pleased at how my neck is healing. The bone in the broken C4 is growing well. However, I will most likely always have tingling in my right hand due to nerve damage and compression. The tumor is still present in my bone (but it's dead now) and turning my neck causes the tumor to press on a nerve. The doctor said that I should only worry if the tingling is constant (it comes and goes) or if it suddenly worsens. The only way the tumor can be completely removed is through surgery and we are trying to avoid that. The tumor is expected to get smaller though as time goes on.
2. There are no new bony lesions! That was really encouraging.
3. There is ample evidence of bone healing happening. The lesion on my left rib is gone! Additionally, several lesions are smaller than three months ago.
4. I no longer have to wear my neck brace all the time. I need to wear it where there is risk of falling and/or harm . . . predominantly, while in a car, while exercising or while walking on uneven ground.
5. The entire medical team is very encouraged by how rapidly my body is responding to treatment. Their stated goal remains, "As high a quality of life for as long as possible." Considering how rapidly the cancer spread in the four months following my last chemotherapy and now, how the cancer has not spread at all and has even backed down a bit during the first four months of treatment, is encouraging.
6. I was supposed to get blood drawn for the gene mutation test (BRCA), but the paperwork wasn't in place. I may have to take a special trip to San Francisco to have that done. My insurance company finally approved paying for it (it's a $4,000 test) and it could be helpful for my siblings and children.
7. I will continue my current treatment plan, daily Tamoxifen and monthly Xgeva (bone strengthening medication). I've been given permission to resume my weight loss plan and I've been encouraged to continue my exercising.
8. I'm to report any negative changes. My next appointment is May 22. My next scans won't be until the end of July.
9. I've been encouraged to return to my regularly-scheduled life! I'm to listen to my body, rest when needed, not do any heavy lifting and stop doing something if it hurts. I do plan on attending a metastatic breast cancer support group up at Stanford as that will help me with the roller coaster of emotions that can happen and lessen the burden on my family and friends in that area.
10. God is so incredibly GOOD! I rejoice at the mighty work that he is doing in my body. We don't know how long this treatment plan will work, but it's working now . . . today . . . my manna . . . and I'm grateful.