During our last visit to MD Anderson (June), Albert had another MRI.
This time the MRI was looking at his brain! and specifically, his pituitary. The neuro-endocrinologist suspected that Bert may have a tumor on or near his pituitary gland. If so, the tumor may be causing pressure on the pituitary and ultimately, the actual cause of the hyperparathyroidism.
Let me backtrack a bit.
Remember that Albert was diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism way back? This was before we knew he had cancer, and honestly, before he was even taking any of this stuff seriously.
Hyperparathyroidism is when the body is overproducing the PTH hormone. To make a long explanation short, over time, it caused his hypertension, osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Usually hyperthyroidism is caused by:
*the parathyroids malfunctioning
*one or more parathyroids developing benign tumors
*the pituitary could be sending erroneous signals to the perfectly healthy parathyroids
Initially, the doctors thought one of Bert's parathyroids had developed a tumor. It took several tests to isolate the correct one, in fact, one of those tests led to finding the cancer.
Last December, (the same day they removed 10 lb Walter White) they also removed one of his parathyroids.
Fingers were crossed that the hyperparathyroidism would go away with it. But it didn't. In fact, it's as active as ever, making it very difficult to treat his osteoporosis. His bone calcium keeps leaking out into his blood and eventually drains out through his urine.
That leaves two options, either one or more of his remaining parathyroids also has a tumor OR, the problem is coming from somewhere else.
The doctors believe it is being caused by another tumor, but not in the parathyroids, on the brain!
Ultimately, the MRI is helping answer the question, what is causing the hyperparathyroidism?
Man, I hope you guys are still with me!
Drum roll, please! The results are POSITIVE. Albert does have a 2mm tumor near his pituitary that is putting pressure on the gland and causing problems with his parathyroids. Whew!!
So what does that mean?
Best case scenario, he takes medication to hopefully shrink the tumor.
Worse case scenario, they surgically remove it through his nose (septum).
And just so we can prolong the suspense...we won't meet with the doctor to come up with a plan of action until September, possibly December.
Believe me, it has taken much processing on our parts to try to accept that this is where we are. It's hard to comprehend that the big surgery in December was really just the beginning of our ride. Funny how life is like that! Lots of twists, lots of turns, none of the ones you expected.
Maybe that's why Albert loves riding his motorcycle through all those HillCountry back roads like The Devil's Back Bone. All the unexpected curves and hills make it exciting and adventurous. They get your heart racing and make you feel alive.
We will keep on taking it one day at a time, leaning into every turn, together. You guys just keep cheering us on, thinking of us, sending happy thoughts, commenting, praying, etc. it all helps!
A few more posts should get you all caught up...yes, there's more!
Thanks for checking in!