The last time I provided an update on my Dad, we were in “wait and watch” mode for the metastasis in his chest. In the meantime, there were new symptoms that led us to more tests. My brothers and I became concerned about a decline in cognitive abilities. Specifically, Dad was exhibiting some confusion and had difficulty finding and forming words. He also had some physical changes that led us to wonder if, perhaps, Dad had had a stroke, or if there was something more going on.
We received authorization for him to have a brain MRI, only to discover at scheduling that he cannot have an MRI due to his pacemaker. So we waited another week to get new authorization for a CT scan. We learned that the CT scan would not be as precise as the MRI but it would show if there was something “significant” going on. So when the doctor called my cell phone just a few hours after the CT scan was completed, I knew something “significant” had been seen. It was one of two times I didn’t have to wait for results… the first time occurring the day my first husband was diagnosed with leukemia.
Based on Dad’s history, it would seem that the brain CT scan showed a metastasis in his left frontal cortex. But without the MRI, they were only 90% sure. We took Dad for a visit to the doctor and the physical exam only caused more uncertainty, as the physical symptoms were not consistent with the imaging. This type of metastasis, located in the brain dura, would result in severe headaches and sensitivity to light, neither of which my Dad has. And the stroke-like symptoms would not result from this spot on his brain, based on where it’s located.
At this point, the possibilities include cancer, strokes that aren’t showing up on the CT scan, dementia, and/or some other neurological issue. Since the CT scan doesn’t confirm, and the physical exam doesn’t confirm, we are back to more waiting. They can’t treat what they don’t know.
So here’s where we stand: Wait 4-6 weeks and repeat the CT scan. If the spot grows, then we know with 100% certainty that it’s cancer. In that case, our options are treatment (radiation only for this type of cancer) or not. If it doesn’t grow, then we will go consult with a neurologist to see what else it might be.
I ask for your continued prayers as we are still waiting…
IMDb: Still Waiting… (2009)