We are a family of “processors”, meaning we take in the details, consider the facts, weigh the options, etc. etc. before we do much talking.  Yesterday’s news gave us pause to “process”.  Now we can talk about what we learned.  This is what we now know….

1_)  The swelling was definitely new tumor hiding under normal brain tissue.  Dr Liau removed the tumor and the normal brain tissue that was hiding it. Everything that was “safe” to remove, has been removed.

2_)  Tumor cells can be micro-cells and therefore unseen by surgeons.  So, taking all the tissue surrounding the tumor is expedient, just in case there are cells hiding in there.  She did that.  But there is never a guarantee that all abnormal cells were removed.

3_)  There is “white area” near the brain stem. She was not able to remove this because it was not “safe” to remove. There is membrane that surrounds the brain stem and it is into that membrane.   The brain stem has a membrane around it to protect it and thus the tumor, if it is tumor,  should be protected from the brain stem.

4_)   The pathology reports are the next critical piece of information needed to determine what needs to happen next. However, regardless, we know there is a “next” step.  The pathology will confirm if the “white area” is tumor and if so, what grade of tumor.

5_)  While the tumor is “grade 2”, the only real treatment option is surgery and waiting.  Grade 2 tumors will typically upgrade at some point.  When they do, they usually become quite aggressive very quickly.   The risk is in finding them before they have upgraded to level 4.  In Charysse’s case, finding the new tumor now is beneficial.  If the pathology shows that is beginning to upgrade or has upgraded, then we caught it very early.

6_)  Treatment will be dependent on the characteristics of the tumor cells.  They have markers that when analyzed can determine what treatment is most effective.  Until we know if it has upgraded and the characteristics of the cells, we can only guess what is next.  They took five specimens to analyze and we should have those results by Wednesday or Thursday next week.

7_)  Dr Liau has a clinical trial she developed called a brain tumor vaccine. Charysse, as her patient, and if it is upgraded does qualify for this trial.  However, the tumor will have to be upgraded significantly to be the proper course of action at this time.  They have taken what is needed from yesterday’s surgery to be able to culture it for the trial, if needed.  We don’t expect this to be the case, at this point.  However, the clinical is showing amazing results and it’s comforting to know this option exists.

8_)  God is not surprised by any of this.  Charysse will continue to do all she can to ensure her health and wellbeing.  We know that about her.  But more importantly she continues to trust God to lead her, her physicians and her family in the direction she needs to be going.

I’ll be posting a picture of her later this afternoon, so you can all see how great she looks.  She is planning to get out of the hospital on Sunday AM.  Her pain is now under control and tolerable and she just needs some much deserved sleep. In the meantime, “It is what it is.”  We’ll all press on to take each day as it comes and draw strength, wisdom and joy from God and those around us who share in our belief that God is in control.