Friday, October 26, 2007

Conservative, Aggressive, The Honest Truth

Ok, so my first opinion when this thing was originally diagnosed can now be called the "conservative" diagnosis. He believed that my tumor was relatively small, benign, and inoperable. His opinion was to have a needle biopsy done and then watch it for any change with frequent MRIs. This was obviously what I "wanted" to hear at the time but was it truly what s going on?

My second opinion can now be called the "aggressive" diagnosis. He believed that my tumor was very large, probably benign, and operable. His opinion was that we go in and remove this thing and he was pretty certain he could get it all. The total opposite of our first opinion and the wake up call that this thing may be more of a beast than we thought.

Now my third opinion is what I am considering the "honest truth." He believes that it is not possible to tell how large my tumor is or even if it is a tumor at this stage. He also believes that surgery at this stage is NOT my best option. His opinion is that we perform an open biopsy so that we know exactly what is going on in there and determine what, if anything, should be done from there. He believes that if it is indeed a Grade One Glioma, it should be left to its own devices because essentially it is "a birthmark of the brain". He also believes that under the circumstances, this is not necessarily something that has to be taken care of right at this moment. He acknowledged the risks either way and was the first to clearly state that there is no 100% correct choice because that can not be known until it is all said and done. Talk about being honest.

Wow, nothing like going full circle. I realize now, that regardless of what I choose in the end, there was a reason I put the stop to doing the biopsy early on. I had other opinions to see and digest before we took any action. Amazingly enough, I was very against considering the needle biopsy after I made up my mind about what was going on. Now, I am seriously considering a procedure much riskier as a very valid option probably in the next few years. The good news is that it is no riskier than any other surgery you might have and the only serious risk outside of that is the possibility of seizures. That's not a positive outcome but when you think that I could have seizures at any time anyway... maybe it's a worthwhile risk.

So, no decisions have been made in the official at this point but I do have a new doctor that I am very confident in. I frequently commented that my second opinion was with a doctor that I had a great deal of confidence in. I was quoted as saying "The third opinion doctor would have to sweep me off my feet to convince me otherwise". Well, this doctor has done just that. His "bedside" manner is wonderful, his way of explaining things is top notch, and I appreciated his upfront honesty. However, the most important thing he gave me is confirmation that I don't have to make any type of decision here and now. I have time to live, love, and contemplate all of my options.

I will possibly have some more entries about this later but for now, I'm going to do those first two things on my list. :-)

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