The pain in my back seems to be moving. It is not so much in my back at the place where Dr. Gorum’s incision gave him access to my spine, but in my upper left hip. The pain is sharp and it sizzles like a live wire. A nerve that is waking up after a long sleep, testing its connection to the source of my power. I hope this is related to the biopsy. We’ll know soon.
The results of my Thursday morning lab appointment came back quickly and I got a late Thursday afternoon phone call from Dr. Alappan. He’s smart as hell but impossible to understand on the telephone. I tried to get the gist of his conversation. He seemed positive about the labs, but I was only getting every few words. I decided to pick up the lab report on Friday and try to decipher it myself.
I did some math and came up with a GFR (glomerular filtration rate) of 33. I learned from my research that the magic number for getting MRI gadolinium contrast is >30. After several emails and a phone conversation with Dr. Glen Vahjen, we decided that I was far enough beyond the danger zone to be able to tolerate a half dose of gadolinium for this MRI.
Nothing is easy for me now when it comes to protecting Strainer, my remaining kidney. I have to go in to the John B. Amos Cancer Center on Monday morning for 8 hours of IV hydration. I’ll get another 2-3 hours of hydration on Tuesday morning before the MRI and another 2-3 hours of fluids after the MRI. This extreme hydration will provide safety for my kidney and I’ll hopefully be able to avoid being hospitalized for temporary dialysis. All this just for an MRI, that most of you could go and do tomorrow without consequence. There is nowhere on earth I’d rather have this MRI done than right here at The Medical Center. My team is going the extra mile to make sure we get a good scan and that I’m safe. I couldn’t possibly be in better hands.
The contrast MRI will give Dr. Stapleford and Dr. Hadjapanayis the data they’ll need to set up my radiosurgery (SRS). I will probably go up to Emory late next week to do the setup required to design the SRS program that will zap this tumor with one treatment. I’ve been told that the computer modeling to design the 360-degree program takes about a week to set up. They’re working to get me onto the treatment table as fast as they can. The machine literally revolves around the patient to deliver radiation from all sides in the exact shape of the tumor. We’ll have this technology at the JBACC in about six months time.
Although I’m still a couple of weeks away from a “High Noon” shootout with this tumor, we’re happy that we at least have a plan. I draw comfort from the knowledge that I’m on target to do the right thing to rid myself of this scourge. Moving in the right direction is better than just sitting around wondering what is coming next.
By the way, go see “Due Date, ” at Carmike 15. The movie is a scream! If you go, you’ll likely be embarrassed to be seen coming out of the theater, but you will have laughed so hard that it just won’t matter.