Saturday, January 12, 2008

Back in Houston, hopefully for only a few days.....

Hi everyone: This is from both John and Anna. Each of us has had a lot of technical difficulties lately getting into the blog to post--with passwords and disappearing messages, etc. so we are jotting this down quickly so we can click the "publish post" button in hopes this will reach you. We plan to follow it up with a more longer post later today or tomorrow.

John came for a follow-up MRI and check-up on Friday morning, expecting, as everyone predicted, that the MRI would be negative for the lesion or inflammation they had found in July. In the later July and fall MRIs, the mystery lesion "resolved"--got smaller and smaller--and no one was able to identify what it had been, as it occurred in the cerebellum area, where things are difficult to see, even with multi-million dollar equipment. Sweet Oskar Madera had driven John here from Austin the night before for the 6:30am imaging and 11am appointment with smart and caring neurologist, Dr. Art Forman. Anna, who was busy working, fully expected John and Oskar to return in the late afternoon.

Dr. Forman told John at 11am that they had seen an enlargement of the lesion/inflammation they had seen in July and that he and Dr. Andersson wished to investigate further. For that they needed to check John into the hospital. Also, Dr. Forman had noticed that John's slurred speech (which we thought was due to autonomic neuropathy) had gotten worse, and as he explained to Anna on the phone at noontime, this is correlated to the cerebellum area.

Oskar stayed with John as they checked him into the hospital, and brought him snacks and soup as John was processed through the Emergency Center and onto our familiar bone marrow transplant floor G11. John's room is G1147 at M.D. Anderson (713-792-2121). Nurses and other staff recognized and greeted John.

Meanwhile, Anna went into high gear in Austin--packing Dillon to go with sweet Diane Colvard (and her and Jack's six cats), as well as clothes and computers for Anna and John and got on the road for Houston.

At around 6p.m. just after Oskar left and Anna arrived, Dr. Forman came in to do a lumbar puncture (to test the spinal fluid). We are due to hear preliminary results of that later this a.m.
If the spinal fluid is clear and free of leukemia, they are planning to do a biopsy of the inflammed area (in the brain) on Monday or Tuesday. Dr. Forman thinks it may be an infection, something they see after transplants for leukemia sometimes, and they will learn what kind of infection to treat. If the spinal fluid or biopsy shows leukemia, there will be the familiar treatments of spinal chemo and some brain radiation. The third and most unlikely possibility is that this is another kind of brain tumor and unlike leukemia, some of these types of tumors are tough to treat.

John is aching to not be in the hospital. His spirits are a bit down about being here again--and so are mine, although I do have to say that John's sense of humor prevails. We both miss you all already and our fun lifestyle in Austin. I assume we'll be here through the biopsy at least--perhaps for the rest of the week. Certainly we'll keep posting all news. If we must stay in Houston for more treatments, we would LOVE to see you or receive your cards and letters. Each time we come, it is harder and harder on both of us.

Calls to John's cell--512-784-7533 (thanks for being patient as it sometimes takes time for John to locate phone)--, emails to either of us or, or visits anytime (the more the merrier) are appreciated, and if we are here for any length of time, visits are especially requested. We have a room at Rotary House you can stay in--as there is also a Murphy bed in John's room.

Lots of love and hugs,
John and Anna (512) 431-6619


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