Friday, October 8, 2010

Nervous Wrecks

We haven’t had many medical updates recently because frankly, there hasn’t been much to report.  Since it’s been awhile, let me take a minute to review where we are.

In mid-July, a routine follow-up MRI showed areas of concern in Isabella’s brain which immediately gave us reason to worry that Isabella’s cancer had returned.  Our doctors were split on whether this was recurrent tumor or changes due to radiation, so they suggested we do another MRI a month later.  Also in the meantime, we sent out several requests for second opinions.

The wait for the next MRI was very difficult for us because Isabella exhibited many symptoms that the tumor was indeed affecting her.  Her right hand and foot progressively got weaker and her mental functions degraded as well – she found it difficult to talk and put sentences together.  The MRI showed that the spot grew slightly and we worked with her oncologist to develop treatment options.  We were also still waiting for responses for second opinions so we stayed in a holding pattern.

While we waited for a treatment plan, we put Isabella on a modified Atkins diet.  Almost immediately, we noticed that Isabella’s symptoms stopped getting worse and in some cases, such as her mental function, actually improved over time.  She seemed to have plateaued, which gave us a little bit of relief.

Isabella also has been loving going to school.  At first, we were concerned how she we do physically, but the school has been very accommodating in assisting Isabella.  At the beginning of September, she was deteriorating so fast, we thought that she would need a wheelchair.  But fortunately, she improved physically and has been able to walk on her own.  We were also worried because all of her friends from last year went to different classrooms, but Isabella, with her magnetic personality, had no problems making new friends.

This past Tuesday, almost three months after the spot was first detected, Isabella had another MRI.  We were hopeful that since Isabella’s symptoms stopped getting worse, perhaps the tumor had stopped growing.  But unfortunately, the results showed that the spot had grown again, albeit slightly, but it did grow, and our doctor believes that we should start treatment as soon as possible. 

Over the last few weeks, I described some new and innovative treatment options for brain tumors, but unfortunately, few of them are mature enough for Isabella.  Ideally, if we had all the time in the world, we could somehow keep the tumor in check, and let these other technologies develop an alternate treatment or even a cure.

Our doctor has recommended a couple chemotherapy options, which we are currently evaluating.  Although we’re not looking forward to the side effects of chemo and the hospital stays, we are hopeful that the tumor responds to the chemo positively as it did last year.  Again, we’re trying to buy time here in the hopes that something, anything pans out – whether it’s a vaccine or a laser or a magnetic helmet.


  1. Be strong and know that we are all praying for Usabella. You have a community of love and prayers around you. GOD BLESS ISABELLA.

  2. Does your family need anything--aside from prayers? The community wants to help--if you do, please let us know.

  3. Roneil and Juliane - Chances are that you may have already heard of the this but I heard on the radio that a new vaccine for brain tumors at Duke University has showed very positive results. The doctor's name is Samson. That was all the information I got and of course, immediately thought of Isabella. Thought I'd pass it on; a long shot that you may not know.



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