"Rocky Road" said Dr S. as he entered the waiting room after his exam was completed. "Today's exam shows a bit of concern." he said.
But first, I will be positive and share the good news- the main "BIG" tumor appears to be neutralized or "calcified". It's no longer growing. It will of course be watched closely and she will for sure have 1 or 2 more IA chemotherapy treatments to make sure it's "dead." This tumor was the main concern originally- if not treated, it ultimately would have spread to the optic nerve and then onto the brain. Excellent news right?
Onto the rocky part, The difficult news to digest is that a few of the vitreous seeds (pieces of the main tumor that have broken off and are floating in the vitreous "gel" of the eye) appear to have implanted on other areas of the retina and have GROWN. Dr. S was unable to see any direct blood supply but assumes that there are small capillary branches that are feeding the implanted tumors.
For today's treatment, they infused a combination of two medications that may hopefully have an effect on these new growths, but more than likely Dr. S will have to inject chemotherapy directly into the vitreous part of the eye (not IA) with her next treatment in addition to the IA chemo. So that's several procedures she will undergo at once next round- shot in the femoral artery & shot in the eye. We were concerned about whether these new tumors are growing rapidly, but he feels that it is necessary to wait the full four weeks before going in at them again.
Ania's infusion took longer today for two reasons. First, the primary artery for intra-arterial chemotherapy is the ophthalmic artery. However, Ania's is occluded (blocked) so they are taking an alternative approach through the Middle Meningeal Artery which is a little more complicated because it has other branches that they want to avoid sending the chemo drugs down which then makes it difficult to measure the exact dose that gets to the tumor. Second, the drug Topotecan was added along with the original Melphalan. Each one takes about 1/2 hour to infuse. Hopefully, the Topotecan will have a good effect on the vitreous seeding. We will not know until the next exam and treatment on February 26th.
She is currently halfway through her mandatory 8 hours of laying flat. She's been sleeping peacefully for the most part minus a little bout of nausea.
I've got some "relaxation" music playing and she loves a warm washcloth placed on her eyes. Mimi has been massaging her feet. Almost a spa like experience..... But hospital style with IV fluids and monitors.....
Today was a bit of an emotional roller coaster with good news concerning the original tumor site but new fears to face with the newly implanted tumors. We had hoped to visualize the end of the road today but we have found another path to forge before getting to our destination. Personally I am exhausted. Just tired of this whole experience- for now. But- tomorrow is another day and there will be smoother, prettier paths ahead. I will be ok. Ania will be ok. Just have to keep the faith....and keep the love of friends and family near :)
Hoping for a path more like this soon....
Hopefully tomorrow I can share some photos of the HAPPY, smiling Ania we love.
And thank you all again for the healing thoughts, prayers and support.