It is nearly 4:29 at home, and we are on the road. Our appointment with the neurologist this afternoon was a good one, visiting with a "pinch hitter" as Elizabeth's is doing outreach work in Ethiopia. The entire pathology report is not in yet, because there are some markers they want to have a closer look at. My science friends will understand about taking cross sections of the tumor tissue for closer looks. We will get a more comprehensive picture later this week or early next week.
In the meantime, here is what we know. She had a stage two Glioma. This means she had a mass of cells taking up an awful lot of space in her brain. If it had been stage three, it would have been considered cancerous. While some of the cells remain, the neurologist said he felt comfortable just watching things for now. Doing radiation on someone young like Elizabeth can be detrimental in the long run, especially related to memory.
Her tumor is considered a mixed Glioma or an oligoastrocytoma. A Glioma often has cells that are astrocytes or oligodendrocytes. In some cases, like Elizabeth's, both types of cells are present. We are learning a lot about these thing- more than this humanities major ever anticipated knowing.
What is absolutely wild is the before and after MRIs. There is clearly a large part of her brain missing. Fortunately, the brain had compensated for this mass growing on its way and has rerouted her speech and other functions contained in her temporal lobe. She will heal, and while her brain will not grow back, the space will be filled by fluid and life will continue.
As I type this on my phone, she is sleeping soundly in the back of the vehicle. Classmates of mine whose daughter went to school with Elizabeth insisted we bring their suburban because of the bucket seats that recline. Elizabeth (and we) are thankful for that gift. It is much more comfortabke for her.
Just as we headed out over a week ago, the pavement is clear and the sun is shining. Life is good.