I'll be honest (actually I'm always honest but with a heavy side of sarcasm), I was smiling today.
I know there is still a very long road ahead in terms of waiting for transplant, false alarms when I go in for a liver if it's not suitable, the surgery, and the recovery. None of these things will be easy on me, or the family. (The latter I'm more concerned with because I know I've done this...i'm a living breathing proof of concept).
I can say however, that I got good news today. Great news really. Sunday 8/30/2015 at 8:30am, I had my MRI with and without contrast and I was dying to know the results (ok, that's a really bad dad joke).
I called my Gastroenterologist (liver doc) today and asked if he had the results from the latest MRI. His front desk told me that they did not have the results and that the radiologist will still need to read them before sending them over. So I did what any impatient kid would do. I was polite, hung up the phone, and moved along in my Medical Phone Tree to the Interventional Radiologist's office (will refer to them as IR from now on).
Here is where the "golden rule" factor comes into play. I always try to break people down, make them smile, Once, Tessa and I took the twins into the office and Leila wouldn't stop hugging one of the nurses. We had made an impression and I was no longer a patient, but was now a name with a face. When I called today, they knew me right away and took down a note. The IR was performing procedures all day they said, it might be tomorrow before he could get back to me.
You know when you really love your job (hopefully you all have experienced it) or when you're really into something, it's your passion. Well, that's my IR. He loves being the best at what he does and has an impeccable bedside manner (probably a really awesome manor too!). He finished up his cases today, must have immediately reviewed the MRI.
The MRI itself can locate nodules or tumors but the contrast will flow into the tumor if the tumor is alive and growing (this is all my non-doc speak). So ideally, what you're looking for is a tumor that's just a void. A dark void that doesn't pass any contrast. And if not a complete void and it's still passing contrast (still vascular) then the smaller the better.
Remember that I have two tumors. One is 22+ mm and the other was 8mm according to the first MRIs.
Following the second TACE procedure the second MRI on Sunday showed:
Tumor One (Yet to be named): Resulted in 22mm tumor/legion showing completely dead, no contrast.
Tumor Two (Yet to be named): Was previously showing signs of necrosis and at 8mm. This tumor is now down to 6mm and is still "enhanced or enhancing"
Wow.....I was so happy to hear that news. The big guy was whipped up on....go Dr Alexander Kim (my IR)!. Now I call BS on tumor #2. It was the one that looked to be cooperating before but now isn't sure it wants to place nice. It is however smaller, which is good. (I'm taking tumor name ideas, winner gets a pickled tumor in a mason jar)
So for now, no more TACE / Chemo. We'll schedule a follow-up MRI in 6 weeks (mid Oct?) and we'll re-evaluate then. I'm totally on-board with that. Gives me time to build up energy levels, do some projects around the house, and fight with insurance on all the things they say that they don't want to cover (more on that later).
For tonight, I'm good with the results. It's a great win. I'm not getting super happy, because in the back of my mind, I still have the transplant... BUT a win is a win! Tonight...I go to bed smiling and if you see me tomorrow, it's not coffee, I'm high on life.
Your Medical Carrie Bradshaw,