Saturday, July 3, 2010

Travis Update: 2nd, 3rd, 4th... Opinions

Given current treatment options for brain cancer (or any type of cancer at that) you basically have 3 choices: surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Since radiation and chemotherapy are both toxic (, we are considering surgery, doing a lot of research, taking the natural approach and most importantly PRAYING for healing and guidance!

Here's a good analogy:
"Imagine that you own a house that is absolutely perfect and beautiful with all the necessities, except that it has some rodents inside. When you call the exterminators, they tell you that they won't be able to target just the rodents, as these rodents are of an especially stealthy breed. They tell you they're just going to set off a series of explosions in your house that may kill the rodents. They warn you, "Oh yeah, it may destroy some of your house in the process, but, hey, you want those rodents out of your house, right?" There's probably no way you would allow that; instead, you would do some research and find other, more specific and less generally destructive ways of getting rid of the rodents."

Recent Events:
June 14:  Receive call from MD Anderson saying they would do surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible.

June 18:  Meet with the neuro-oncologist from St. Luke's, Dr. Salacz, for the second time. This appointment was a lot more encouraging then the first. Waiting to get more pathology information before deciding a method of action. Recommended an approach of not 'playing your cards too soon' when dealing with a slow growing tumor, which we agreed with.

June 22:  Received the biopsy report back fom Mayo Clinic, which just confirmed what we already knew... Oligodendroglioma, grade II, no 1P 19Q chromosome deletions.
June 28:  Received call from Duke saying they would do surgery and their surgeon thinks they can do a complete recession! Although in reality a 'complete' recession when dealing with the brain is nearly impossible. It would be more accurate for them to say they think they can remove 'most' or 'the majority' of the tumor. None the less, this was great news!

June 29:  Phone interview with neuro-surgeon in San Fransisco, Dr. Berger. He said he thought he could remove 90 - 95% of the tumor and recommended surgery within 1 -2 months. He also told us that given its location (right side, below the motor stripe) side-effects would be temporary weakness of his left arm and leg, possibility of one week of physical therapy, worst case scenario 85% of movement returned within 2 months and 100% returned within 6 months.

June 30:  Call from neuro-oncologist at St. Luke's, Dr. Salacz, after reviewing biopsy slides with their pathologist. He said if he had to put a decimal on his 'grade II' tumor, he would call it a '1.75'. This was great news since that tells us its probably even slower growing! He also said that the tumor probably started 10 - 15 years ago, which means Travis has probably had this tumor since he was 10 - 15 years old! It makes you wonder what started it in the first place. He also noted that he didn't think surgery would be worth the risk unless his surgeons thought they could remove at least 90% of the tumor.

What's next:
July 6:  Dr. Salacz will be presenting Travis' case with the 'tumor board' for the second time to discuss surgery. We will then meet with him at 10am to hear their opinion.

Thank you for your prayers and please continue to pray!!!


  1. We are thinking of you guys often and praying for healing and peace.

  2. Jaclyn I'm so sorry, but your options sound great! My dad had a brain tumor and also worked with Dr. Salacz and he was the BEST doctor we could've asked for. You're in great hands.