MRI & More Mothers Day

Dr. Hayden sat at the screen, looking at the MRI and scrolling up and down, up and down Jackie’s spine.  Finally he turned and looked at her and pronounced, “You win!”.
I hadn’t realized the weight that I had been carrying until those two words eased the load.
Slowly he went through the MRI with us – showing us a normal vertebral body and rib, then the area that had undergone surgery – it looked like a war zone.  Many people ask us if her ribs will grow back – no, they will not.  They are, however, growing fresh bone tissue at the cut end which will finish it off nicely.  He ran up and down the spinal cord a few times to show us how it was always perfectly round, no changes.  He was very pleased about that.
We asked him about the research study and why were the researchers so excited?  He isn’t involved with the research, but he knew that they were excited to get a chordoma because they are so rare, especially here in Portland where there is only one doctor that deals with them.  It was also great for research because she had not previously undergone any sort of treatment – the tumor is alive and flourishing.  Yuck – because the tumor is our enemy, but cool if they can learn more for future patients.
We also wanted to know how long he thought the tumor had been growing.  Again, Jackie is a very unusual chordoma patient (young, female, etc) so he says they really cannot predict.  In an older patient they know that over six months it might grow only a millimeter or two, so it is most likely that it has been growing for many years.  She hasn’t been alive long enough for it to grow at that rate and end up as big as it was… My personal guess is that it has been there 7 or 8 years, growing at a rate of 1-2 cm/year.  My other guess is three years growing quickly.  No scientific basis for my guesses,  just instinct.  So I guess that she can tell people that she had a very rare form of cancer for most of her life, but that she is now cancer-free.  Woohoo!
He says he would usually have her back in 6 months, but she is so unusual she needs to be there in 4 months.  “Would that work for us?”  Hello!!??  I just found out that we won’t be traveling to Seattle all summer having proton radiation treatments!!  I think I can get her to OHSU in 4 months.
Time for her to find a job.
Now I just want to say something else about Mothers Day – besides poetry, my kids usually band together and bring me breakfast in bed, complete with flowers from the yard.  This year I woke up and knew no one was stirring.  I felt a little sad for a moment but, quite frankly, knew they were all tired and we had to get up and get ready for church anyway.  Unbeknownst to me, David had gotten up very early and snuck downstairs.  When I got out of my shower there was a breakfast tray waiting for me on my bed, complete with homemade pancakes (blue), hash browns, and milk (pink).  I thought the colored food was an especially nice touch since it was something we did for fun when the kids were younger.  David is 13 and he pulled it off by himself without a word to his sisters.  I have rarely enjoyed a meal so much.  Just for the record and to show what a normal 13 year old boy David is, I will now record his 2014 poem:  “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”
Well, this is what you say when you have nothing else to say…  His breakfast told me what his poem could not.  I love being a mom!

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