Tomorrow is MRI day. I hate MRI days.
Round 9 of chemo ended this week, and she is in the week-long break before Round 10. She has finally been moved from every other month to every three month MRIs, so this is by far the longest we have ever gone (there was a point where she was having them a few times a week). No one expects to find anything, but she will be monitored like this for her whole life, eventually working our way to just one MRI each year. She gets full brain and spine MRIs which take about 2 hours under anesthesia.
The hardest part of the MRI is waiting for the results. It can take a few days for her doctors to review the images and get back to us. Actually, a few days later is better than hearing right away - we have been told that if there is a problem (i.e. tumor) then the doctors get called immediately. I am always hoping they don't have to come and find me while she is still in the scan.
One thing we will be looking for in this scan is the movement of her skull bones. Last week, we panicked when we noticed a large lump on her forehead. I immediately had flashbacks of a year ago when she had the mystery bruise, asking myself "How could she have gotten that without me knowing?" I started doing neurological checks, flashing lights in her eyes, watching her eyes track, feeling her hands grip, checking her foot reflexes - all normal. She was laughing at me tickling her. The lump was not painful, bruised or red, so we could tell it was an internal cause rather than from hitting her head. We called the on-call doctor, who put a call to the Nurse Practitioner for the morning, who then had us come in a day early for our weekly clinic. Her determination was that the lump was "just" the bones shifting and causing a protrusion of tissue on Scarlett's forehead. Her bones are slowly growing, which is causing some shifting among the "islands" of bone on the caved-in left side.
While we were glad to hear there was no need to panic, this is an issue that will continue to progress until she can have surgery next summer. This is why the neurosurgeon was so antsy to do surgery all this time - eventually, the bones will grow, and that will continue to cause more damage that needs to be repaired. Unfortunately, we just have to wait. Chemo has made her much too fragile to do surgery, especially the long, highly-invasive surgery that she needs. We will get a CD-ROM of the MRI this week, take it to the neurosurgeon in Oakland, and begin discussing the plans for surgery. We are aiming for late June or July so that she can hopefully be home again and recovering in time for me to be able to start working at the beginning of the school year.
Tomorrow, think tumor-free thoughts for Scarlett!