Shrinking tumours

Before hubby started chemo in August 2014 for one of his NF2 tumours – the one in his brain, we spent many an hour researching the side effects and prognosis. The general medical consensus was that Avastin stood a good enough chance of shrinking and then stabilising the brain tumour (schwanomma), but was unlikely to have an effect on the one in hubby’ spine.

After an MRI scan last week – one of the special ones where his head is wrapped up like an Egyptian mummy’s to stop the ABI device exploding out of his skull and making a bit of a mess, yesterday we were told that the spinal tumour has also shrunk a little! The brain tumour has as expected now stabilised rather than shrinking any further, but in the NF2 world stability is good. No scrap that, it’s bloody brilliant, because the alternative is major surgery, and we want to delay that as long as possible.

Normally a very optimistic person, even hubby is suprised that both tumours have shrunk. He’d been expecting to see no change in the spinal tumour at best, and likelier still to have to start talking surgery. So to come away with such good news has left us a little shell shocked to be honest. Despite always appearing cool, calm and collected, with not a care in the world, hubby has faced four lots of brain surgery so far, one of which saw the surgical team fighting to save his life when he developed a bleed on his brain stem. I hadn’t met him by this point, but I cannot imagine what that must have been like for mum and dad-in-law. Or for hubby, waking up unable to speak or eat because he’d been fitted with a trachy and breathing tube. It’s only down to his sheer bloody mindedness, and that of his parents, that he’s now able to eat normally. Admittedly sometimes there’s a bit of spluttering when he gets tired, and I have to try not to start performing the Heimlich maneuver as soon as he starts choking, but otherwise we enjoy our food.

The previous surgery was unavoidable because sadly NF2 tumours can still lead to an untimely end, and yes accidents happen in surgery, but knowing that he doesn’t have to go under the knife again anytime soon is such a relief. He’ll have another chemo dose in two weeks, and then as far as we know he’ll move on to four weekly doses, and they’ll scan him again in May. So between now and May we’re going to get busy planning our summer adventure. Something that involves lots of walking, wild swimming, and me freaking hubby out with my driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road.

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