Last Thursday & Friday we met with the neurosurgeon and the radiation oncologist (at Albany Medical Center) to find out more about my brain situation and plan my stereotactic radiosurgery. It really does look like an ideal treatment for relatively small brain metastases (such as mine). I am the type of patient for whom this treatment is often done, and it is often done at Albany Med. Unfortunately this means that they are very busy and I will have to wait until mid-month or the second half of the month to get zapped.
There are many steps to the procedure involving 3 different days at AMC (not full days), and a molded-plastic “head cage” too. The actual procedure will be 2-3 hours total. It is a one-time thing and then it is done (80-90% chance of fully dealing with these mets, very low chance of any side effects or even complications right afterward…maybe a bit of fatigue for a couple days). It can be done again if more mets pop up. It turns out I have 4, 2 very small and 2 about 2 cm. All four will be zapped.
So the hard part is I have to just sit and wait for the appointments to be made. Meanwhile, we are not starting chemo because we don’t know when the zapping will happen and chemo can’t be administered too close to the zapping (3 days off beforehand). 7+ weeks and no treatment yet (other than reassessing and changing around my life!).
In the good-news column, my insurance company has apparently approved the use of Eribulin for me as a first-line chemotherapy agent, which is really good news. It is FDA-approved for only second- or third-line treatment (that means approved only for use after 1 or 2 other chemo regimens have been tried) and I will be getting it first. My oncologist wants me to get it first because it seems to be particularly good for BRCA1-mutation cancers. So. One decision has been finally arrived at. I will try it and keep on it if it works.