Here’s a picture of a slice of my brain from a MRI made this morning at UCSF’s Parnassus radiology facility, an image created after about 30 minutes in an (upgraded) 3 Tesla GE Signa MRI machine. The faint brightness in the lower left quadrant shows the current state of my stage 3 glioma. (you can see a comparison of the original tumor and a more recent image here).
The tumor and associated ‘flair’ (damage caused by the tumor and radiation therapy) are just visible: more importantly, today’s MRI looks a lot like the last 10 or so MRIs. The tumor isn’t growing – indeed, it’s very faint, and has been that way since I began taking Avastin infusions about a year ago.
Avastin therapy for brain tumors is still new territory – there’s only about a year or so experience to draw from. It’s difficult to know when it’s ‘safe’ to change dosage or stop using it.
I had been wanting to ask Dr. Susan Chang, my neuro-oncologist, about going to monthly, from twice-monthly Avastin infusions. Before I could ask, she suggested I stop Avastin altogether, but continue taking MRIs every six weeks, as well as monitoring my body for signs of neurological changes – I’m a more sensitive diagnostic tool than the MRI. So, woo-hoo! I’m freed from the biweekly ‘chemo tether.’ Now, about that house in the south of France…