Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Is no news good news?

Last week I met with a radiation oncologist who I find is the top authority on radiosurgery in the area here (Seattle and the NW). She worked with a top neurosurgeon with the first Gamma Knife facility in the NW. That doctor is now in California and it appears that she has taken his place in running the Gamma Knife facility and the Fractionated Steriotactic Radiosurgery center at Swedish Hospital. They do not have a Cyberknife facility up here yet but the Gamma Knife is pretty similiar so I thought she would be the one here who would know the most about my symptoms. She also knows the folks down at Stanford.

From our consultation, she seems to find my symptoms normal although not common. About 10% of her patients have had symptoms and facial palsy no matter what the dosage or duration of the treatment. Unlike typical acoustic neuroma patients, the tumors of those with NF2 are intertwined with the nerve. Thus when the tumor swells it puts pressure on the nerve and causes the types of symptoms I have been having. In AN patients, the tumor sits on the surface of the nerve and many go through the treatment symptom free.

Her interpretation is that it is also early yet (Although it seems really long for me. When I went through cancer I was in remission by now.). I am at 7 months and normally swelling does not cease until 9 months. In those with symptoms, it can take as long as a year before they subside! I learned from Stanford that it takes a full two years of observation to know whether the tumor has died and the procedure a success.

At any rate, there was a screw up in the delivery of my records and films. The doctor did not have them at the time of our consultation. Instead they got them the day after. The plan was for the neurosurgery and neurology staff from Swedish Hospital to meet on Monday and review my films and discuss my case. I thought the doctor was going to email me back on Monday after they met. However, I have not heard from her yet.

So is no news good news? I unfortunately do not have her email.

I do meet with her again within a month. She ordered for me to have another MRI prior to our meeting which I feel more confident about. I was a little nervous waiting a whole 3 months before getting another MRI scan.

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