A few uneventful weeks went by after Lynn returned home from the last hospitalization. There were doctor visits and MRIs and PET scans and physical therapy, so we were a bit busy. Mostly the focus was on Lynn resting, eating and regaining strength and health. We had short visits from family and friends. Nothing too taxing. It wasn’t a bad time or a good time. We were just spending time together.
We went to a scheduled visit with the radiology doctor to go over Lynn’s latest brain MRI and found out that there were seven new lesions in her brain in just a month! The cancer had returned to her brain and it was fast. From his area of expertise, the only thing he could offer was whole brain radiation. This would kill all the current cancer, but it would also kill healthy brain cells as well. The side effects would be substantial. And, since the cancer came back so fast, he was sure that it would return again just as quickly. So the radiation would only be good for a short period of time. To Lynn and me, it wasn’t really a good option. It was a long drive home. The news was a kick to the gut. We were both in shock, but we also had other doctors to talk to. Surely, there was something we could do.
We saw Lynn’s oncologist two days later to discuss her protocols. Given the current state of the cancer, the immunotherapy was not a good option. She thought it would take too long for the therapy to have an impact, if it had any at all. This cancer was too aggressive. So the only thing left was the BRAF treatment. These would have side effects that would accentuate the problems Lynn was already having. For Lynn’s particular case, the success rates of the treatment were just OK, and it would really only prolong the inevitable by a few months. There was no cure. In our minds we new this, but to hear it out loud was devastating. Now we had to decide if living a few extra months with the treatment was the best decision given the expected side effects.