Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Some scans of Lisa's tumor

This first scan shows her MRI from September (the two images in the left column) and her scan in December (the images in the right column). You can see how her left hemispher (the right side on the image) was clean and clear in September. Then in December you can see the white spot that had developed. That white spot is her new tumor.

Her IV infusions of Avastin were supposed to slow down the tumor. When we went back into her doctors in late January, the tumor had tripled in size. You can see in this scan not only how much bigger it was, but that it was starting to shift her midline and push her brain off to the side from all the growth and swelling.

After seeing this scan, her doctors informed us that the only option left was to try a new clinical trial called Rambo that combines her Avastin with radiation and an antibiotic called minocycline. Her doctors are hopeful that this regimen will slow it down. On that visit they began to ask her a series of questions to see how she was doing and we were able to discover that she was experiencing a loss of coordination and couldn't dance very well anymore. It also explained why she struggled so badly to snow ski when we went as a family. Her tumor was starting to affect her.
As she went in for her pre-radiation preparations two weeks later, she was starting to show diminished memory, cognitive function and physical abilities. They took another scan and found that the tumor had grown substantially more in the two weeks since her last visit.

The past week has been really difficult to see how quickly she has been deteriorating. I wrote this update to her doctor this morning:
Hey Sean, I thought I would give you an update on Lisa. She is noticeably getting worse each day. Her deterioration over the past week has been pretty dramatic. I am in charge of all of her medications and she is taking all of them each day. She is now to the point where she really struggles with simple physical tasks like getting dressed. I have to get her dressed each day (so when you see her if her clothes don't match, that's my fault). She really struggles with putting her contacts in, so I am just having her wear her glasses all the time now. Also, when she walks down stairs I have to hold on to her and even then she still stabilizes herself on the wall. So physically, she is getting a lot worse.
Mentally, well, her short term memory is non existent most of the time. She doesn't know what day it is, what time it is, and often repeats the same questions over and over again. She will forget something you told her not 15-20 seconds before. She is even starting to lose some of her long term memory. Yesterday she forgot that we have four kids. She thought we only had three. She forgot that she and I first met and started dating in Chicago. She thought it was at BYU. When neighbors drive her to lunch, on the way home she can't remember how to get to our house, and then yesterday as they pulled up to our house she thought it was her parents cabin up above Oakley. She didn't recognize our house of the past 7 years. We have noticed that whenever she is away from the house, like at sacrament meeting, she gets really confused and struggles. It's like it's too much for her to process. So from now on, I was going to just keep her at the house unless she is going down to Huntsman for her appointments. She just doesn't do well at all with a lot of people and a lot of stimulation around her like at stores and restaurants.
As the day wears on and she gets more tired, she gets worse. Yesterday she had visitors come to our house while I was at work. She basically was socializing and visiting with many family and friends for about 6 straight hours. When I got home from work, you could see it in her eyes that she was exhausted and confused. So I discretely told the visitors that she had to eat to take her medication. I hate to be a jerk and limit her visits, but dang that was rough on her. I'm thinking of limiting their visits to less than 30 minutes (instead of the 2 hour ones she had yesterday). After I fed her, I set her down on the couch in a quiet room. She sat there for over an hour not saying anything and just sitting with her eyes open while staring at the wall. It was as if her brain had gone into sleep mode and shut down. She had just checked out. When I would go in and check on her, she would see me and say "hi! How are you?" in a very happy tone as if she was just seeing me for the first time that afternoon.

We are truly taking things one day at a time. It breaks my heart to see her like this. I love her so much and get emotional realizing that soon she will pass away and return to her Heavenly Father. She's an amazing girl.


Sarah said...

I honestly can hardly fathom what you are going through. I am just so sorry. Reading this breaks my heart into a million pieces. As always, my prayers are with you. Love you guys.

Claire said...

Cody- I'm sure you don't remember me (we took a dance class together at byu my freshman year) but I went to school with Lisa and I want you to know how much you, Lisa and your sweet children are in my thoughts and prayers. Your example is nothing short of miraculous. I hope and pray you are able to feel strength in our savior. Thank you for allowing social media into your life- there is strength in numbers. My prayers are with you daily.

Marie said...

Hi Cody, I grew up in the Foster's ward and I have always loved and looked up to Lisa. I even remember her babysitting my siblings and me a few times. Thank you for your updates via social media. While it is heartbreaking to read about what you guys are going through, your faith is truly inspiring. Your sweet family is on my mind and in my prayers constantly.

Linds Forrest said...

Thank you for writing an update on Lisa. I am not on Facebook, and so therefore don't get much info on her. I'm so sorry the tumor is so aggressive, and how hard I'm sure it is on Lisa, as well as all of you. She always is so courageous and wonderful, and have always loved her. I will keep you and your family in my prayers everyday, and send my love and support to all of you. Lindsey (I clogged with Lisa during the Vawd Squad years)

Rachel H said...

Cody-my heart hurts for Lisa, you, and your family. I'm also not on Facebook & hadn't heard an update on Lisa for awhile. Lisa and I were on cheer together in high school, and I have always been so impressed with the amazing person she is. Your family is in my prayers, love to Lisa and your family.