Friday, December 12, 2008

Brain MRI Results




Good news! I got the results of my brain MRI yesterday and the films show the tumors have almost completely disappeared. The photos on the left are from August and those on the right are from Wednesday. The doctor said this could mean that 1) the tumors are on their way to shrinking down even further, or 2) the tumors are on their way to resuming growth. I'm going to choose door number one.

This was a follow-up scan after the seizures I had in August due to the growing tumors in my brain. I had whole-brain radiation for ten days after that. We'll wait another three months now and do another MRI to see whether the tumors are coming or going.

These MRI results were exactly what I expected. At the risk of sounding cocky, I have to say I've been uncannily accurate about the progress of my cancer for the past few years. In terms of predicting results of scans or the effectiveness of treatments, I've had a better batting average than even my doctors.

For example, for months last year, I was put on various different antibiotics for lung infections and the entire time I kept saying it was cancer, not infection. When we finally did a biopsy and my self-diagnosis proved correct (unfortunately), I was the only person in the room to react with dry eyes and no surprise. It pays to be prepared.

Given my success at reading my own body and disease, I'm going to guess that the current chemo combination is working at least enough to keep the cancer from progressing too much too quickly. The pains and side-effects I've been feeling might be due to the interaction of so many drugs swirling around inside my body. I stopped taking the new pain killers and gastritis (inflammation of stomach lining) medications my doctor gave me after my last chemo session and I've been feeling better. Those drugs just didn't work for me; they might have even caused more pain.

Another good sign: for the past two days, I've felt strong enough to get around without the wheelchair, and although I had a few coughing fits that probably scared or disturbed people around me, I didn't end up gasping for air and having a panic attack. Hooray. Looks like Christmas has come early for me!

47 comments:

Falcon Scott said...

Dear Shin,

These scan pictures are far more beautiful than the sunrise we had an hour ago.

I am going through your scan right now!

Falcon Scott, MD : )

Anne and Tom said...

Hi Shin,
Thanks for your comment on my blog re: cake icing. It made me smile, and think repeatedly throughout the day about how amazing it is that you in Singapore and I in Hawaii are having an online conversation about cancer and cake icing. Now, I've seen a picture of your brain. And what a lovely one it is! Glad to hear your good news.
Aloha,
Anne

Anonymous said...

Shin, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! :) I am really very happy for you!!!!! :)

Angel said...

Congrats! Merry Xmas! *hugz*

Natalia said...

Hooray, Hooray, Hooray!! What a wonderful Christmas present! Life is good.

Natalia

Jamie said...

I've never been so happy while working late in the office.

I have only one wish. Okay, I'm lying. I have lots of wishes. But my biggest wish, by far, is that you continue to receive more good news.

Lots of love - I'm looking forward to seeing you, Josie, Toby and Big Brother soon (and it'll be great fun watching the cousins run amok).

-Jamie

Ronnie Ng said...

Congrats, Shin!

Zorop said...

Never been happy for a stranger before. You're happy; I'm happy.

Leighbee said...

FANTASTIC! What a GORGEOUS brain (and yes - I AM shouting!)

Jessie said...

Dear Shin,
Congrats!!
I am very happy for you!
Jessie

Pati said...

Yahoo!!!!!
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.........
Pati

Emily said...

Happy New Year in advance!

Francesca Giessmann said...

Just GREAT GREAT GREAT !!!!!

Imel said...

So happy for you! Merry Xmas in advance! And oh... I suppose it has arrived! :)

Anonymous said...

Congrats Shin!! :)

Kimberly said...

CONGRATS :D
Cheers!

tub said...

that's really lovely, shin!
have a merry christmas!

ivay ")

Suzanne said...

Congrats! Thanks for sharing the good news!

Suzanne

Anonymous said...

Hooray!!
Congrats and Merry Christmas, Shin

Kathie said...

Hi Shin.

Good wishes to you. Can see the tumors have shrunk. : ) I had an MRI for my spine. Wonder if you were put in the same kind of scanning machine. I remember I was specifically told not to cough. Since you have coughing fits, wasn't it difficult to do the scan?

Shin said...

Kathie,

I'm pretty sure the MRI machine used for my brain was the same as that used for your spine. I think MRI machines are the same. They simply adjust for different parts of the body they're scanning.

Yes, you have to lie perfectly still during the procedure. I had a coughing attack just as they were putting me into the tunnel and they had to wait about 15 minutes until I stopped. After that, I was okay. I was in the tunnel for about 30 minutes and I closed my eyes and tried to sleep so I wouldn't cough or get claustrophobic, which happens when I think about the confined space, breathing, and so on.

I can usually control my coughing. As long as I don't move, don't talk, don't put any strain on my lungs in any way, I can go for hours without a coughing attack.

kajia said...

Dear Shin,

What great news!! I am so happy for you! You won a battle. Good for you.

Wer Wer said...

yeah!!! congrats!

Astrogalaxy said...

Hello Shin.

Happy for you and your family! Definitely very good news! Congrats!!!

Christine Raza said...

I am so happy I am fighting back tears! Everyone around me at work is happy for you as well and are actually cheering!

This is the best Christmas ever.

Love, Christine

writerinresidence said...

Dear dear Shin,
I was so busy all day I didn't get to check your blog this morning. It had to wait till tonight...after midnight...after pick-ups and errands and Christmas card making and settling the kids into bed late today because it's a Friday and we all watched The Cosby Show while signing cards. Anyway, today, Saturday, is my birthday and this is not only my first birthday present, it's the best one! Am so happy and glad, Shin...for you and Tony and Josie and Toby...for all of the people who love you...and for me too! Happy birthday to me! A blessed and joyful Christmas is coming to you and your beautiful family. Bravo Shin!

Lee Ping said...

It is great! Congratulations! Hope to hear more good news from you.

Paula said...

I am so happy for you Shin. Good news is something to cherish....I hope you have a fantastic holiday!

Jill said...

What great news!! Congrats Shin!! So excited to hear this; feel like hugging you right now. It is as if we can see the sun shining on your path and there is great hope for a better future.

Shall share with you one my greater joys of the past few weeks. Recently my mum's depression has improved and this makes me feel so positive towards everything. Weekdays were rather busy and packed, but I don't feel shag at all. And together with your good news that really makes my day, I look super duper forward to the weekend and spending time with family.

And so Christmas really came early for us. Merry Christmas! Let's enjoy this season of gifts.

Yen said...

Dear Shin,

Really so happy for you. Last night I was looking at your family photos and wishing you would get better, and then today saw this good news!! I had an MRI two years ago when I was in a wheelchair. Yours is much more beautiful then mine. Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas to you, your husband and your two adorable chidren.

Yen

Rebecca said...

Hey Shin,

I have just checked your blog after being flat out the last 3 days with my last salmon order of the year and am SOOO happy to hear about your latest scans - you need to write a book for all those people who don't know about your blog - I think your attitude is enough to give cancer sufferers the inner strength that is needed to fight this horrible disease!

My dad had his cyberknife treatment this week on the liver tumors that came up on his last PET scan - all under local b/c his one working vocal cord opening is so narrow that there was a chance that if he was under general and they put the tube down his throat, when they removed it his throat might get traumatised and swell over and they would have to do a tracheotomy - even though it would save his life he said he is not quite ready to lose his voice....so went the local anaesthetic route and with the most horrendous side effects - he can't keep anything down and is feeling so terrible says it's worse than the cancer pain - but he asked me how you were doing and this news will make him feel better I'm sure!!

Shin - have the most wonderful Christmas with this great news and your great family.

See you in 2009 - just let me know when you're up to a bit of fish again and I will drop some in!!

Rebecca xx

Iris said...

So happy to read your blog this morning. It's the best birthday gift for me today. Words cannot describe my happiness for you. I saw you at Mt. Elizabeth Hospital but was too shy to approach you. Bye and Merry Christmas.

Iris

JocelynTay said...

Hey!That is absolutely wonderful news!!Am really happy for you!!!

Victor K said...

Congrats! Fight on. You are winning. It shows what a positive outlook and medical science can do.

Ben Lee said...

Congratulations! Enjoy Xmas with your loved ones!

Co Co said...

Shin,

Congrats to you! Really so happy for you and your family! I'm really elated to hear that!

You are great, Shin!

Have a great X'mas celebration ahead!

Mandy and Kim said...

Just read your blog and the good news has chased away these Sunday wet weather blues!

Congrats Shin!

Your simple request to stay with your loved ones has moved all the Gods above!

Hugs,

Mandy & Kim

Mandy Lee said...

Hip, Hip, Hooray!
Congratulations - and best wishes for continued success!

maqi said...

Hi Shin.

Great to hear the good news. Hope you recover. Merry Christmas!

maqi

Yvonne said...

Shin,

I didn't visit your blog for the last few days and I am just sooooooooo HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY to hear this wonderful news. Good job.

Love,

Yvonne.

Wynn said...

Dear Shin,

Congrats!! Feel so happy for you and your family.

This should be the best Christmas present for your family and yourself this year!

Peto said...

Shin,

Thank you for the good news. Was quite worried for you as I have not been visiting your blog for the past week as my mum has been unconscious in the ICU for the past few days.

Well, I hope to share HER good news with you soon.

I regretted not being able to be there for my mum during her hospital stays as I had for Nadya [daughter]. I was at energy level zero and took for granted that she would be fine as she just needed a simple procedure.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to you & family.

Sheryl said...

Dear Shin,

So happy to hear that piece of good news from you. Congrats!! Merry Christmas to you and your family too :D

Take good care,

Sheryl

Mylinh said...

Really great news Shin! I would argue that cancer ironically has not effected your brain at all so far. No cancer in that brain of yours. No way missy. Your clarity and razor sharp view points prove that : ). Have a great Christmas and new year Shin and family. Thinking of you!

Mylinh xo

Anonymous said...

very glad to read this. been following your blog and every single entry is meaningful to me. i've talked to many friends about you and your blog, you are truly an inspiration. blessed be.

Gavin said...

Dear Shin,

Congratulations on the positive progression!

I'm still hoping for better news and yes, let's be even more greedy for the New Year ahead.

Best Of Health!

Gavin

Will said...

Hot brain. Lookin good, baby. xxx Will