Further review by several radiologists of the cranial MRI from last Thursday has identified multiple flare sites throughout Rebecca’s brain. These are areas of irritation that indicate emerging tumors.
So we won’t be going to Philadelphia for surgery. The recovery time afterward, and the possibility of brain damage from the resection, mean that removing the large tumor might actually reduce the amount of quality life ahead of her. The odds are overwhelming that there will be no surgery at all.
We are meeting with the Cleveland Clinic team on Monday morning to work on finding a clinical trial that is open and would be appropriate for her medical condition. There are other, more experimental treatment ideas we will investigate, again as appropriate for the situation. But the sad truth is that she may not live long enough to get into a trial or attempt a new treatment. The fact that there are tumors emerging in multiple places means she never really had a chance to be cancer-free.
All we can hope to do now is delay the progression of the cancer as much as possible, without unduly sacrificing her quality of life. It’s theoretically possible that the right treatment, whatever that might be, can bring the tumors to a near-halt, but that would be a miracle in itself. To see a regression would be a miracle beyond miracles. The cancer is just too aggressive and too pervasive.
The doctors tell us she’ll be completely fine right up to the point where she suddenly isn’t, and then it will most likely be over within a few days. Much like last August. That will almost certainly be within weeks, or maybe a few months from now. Or it could be today. They can’t say, and even if they could, I don’t know that we’d ask. It really is better not to know what day your child will start to die.
I just wish they could tell us how the process will unfold, so we could prepare for it and make it as comfortable and free of fear as possible for her.
It is still possible that treatments will push that day off, maybe far enough for Rebecca to turn six and go to Cedar Point as soon as it opens this summer. That was her top wish when Make-A-Wish came, to go to Cedar Point and win all the boardwalk games. Being Cinderella at Disney was her runner-up wish. We hope that we have enough time to make at least that wish come true.
We told Carolyn and Rebecca this morning. They took it very well, because they still trust and believe in us and our ability to fix this, and we can’t bring ourselves to take that away from them. Better to let them hold on to that sense of safety, even if just for a little while longer.