Hi! We've had a sudden turn of events. I had an MRI scan performed this morning and it shows that the melanoma has spread to my brain. I have been on the phone all day with Dr. Legha in Houston and various local doctors as we try to determine the best way to treat this. I have been ordered a prescription for dexamethazone (sp?), which is supposed to help alleviate the symptoms until something more definitive can be done.
Here's what happened. On Monday, I was feeling great. I went for my usual lengthy power walk and even ran about a mile in the middle of it. When I got back home and did some stretching, I noticed that it felt weird when I tried to extend my left leg all the way. On Tuesday, I noticed my left leg felt a bit heavy during a portion of my daily walk but the feeling passed so I figured I was just tired from the day before. That night, I had a sharp pain in my hip, which I took to be a muscle cramp caused by the fact that I hadn't stretched after my walk (I was rushing to get the kids to swim lessons and had to abbreviate my normal exercise routine). Wednesday I noticed my left leg was acting funny. I was having trouble controlling it. It was like it was asleep, but it wasn't numb. I had trouble putting my left foot in a sandal, for instance, and every time I tried to turn on my left foot I felt like I was going to fall over because my foot didn't move with the rest of my leg. I tried to take a bike ride with Regan and Jack that evening but had to cancel it because I fell off my bike before I even got to the end of Perry Ct. I think I scared the kids a little by that, and I was starting to get scared myself at why my leg wouldn't work right.
Then this morning (Thursday), I could barely put my shorts on because my foot wouldn't go through the leg hole. Also, my left arm was beginning to feel heavy (it's acting kind of nonresponsive as I type this). I called Dr. Legha. He was very concerned and told me I needed to get an MRI today. Fortunately, my luck in getting quick appointments held up once again and I had an MRI scan this morning at 11:30. Dr. Legha called me at 2:00 and gave me the bad news. He hadn't seen the actual report yet--it wasn't finished yet--but he had talked to the radiologist who confirmed the presence of a suspicious lesion of roughly 3 to 4 cm in the right side of my brain.
Dr. Legha said we need to move quickly in treating this. He said I need to be working with an oncologist and/or neurosurgeon by tomorrow. Dr. Legha said this is something that could be handled locally here in Milwaukee but that if I was having any trouble at all in getting things moving that I should come to Houston tomorrow (Friday). I have contacted my local oncologist, Dr. Matthaeus and, though he is out of the office until Monday, his colleague Dr. Oesterling could see me tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. (Dr. Matthaeus and Dr. Oesterling were the two local oncologists recommended by my dermatologist, Dr. Barnett). I should know much more about my treatment options by tomorrow morning at 8:30. Dr. Legha said aggressive surgery is the best treatment for this; the idea is to get in and get rid of the tumor entirely before it causes any more problems. I hope Dr. Oesterling feels the same way.
We will keep everyone posted as we learn more. Please keep us all in your prayers.