The Neuro Surgeon didn’t mince his words and as I best recall he said ‘well Mr Parke I am afraid it is not good news, two weeks ago when we looked at your MRI scans that were taken 3 months ago (!!!), we could see there was at least one tumour and two others that were rapidly developing. Unfortunately what we see now only a short time later is 2 very large tumours in your brain with 2 others developing rapidly, as well as what looks like numerous other smaller ones starting to develop.’ He showed me some of the scans of my brain and it looked like someone had smashed a box of eggs inside my head – the tumours looked like black holes with the swelling they cause appearing on MRI taken with contrast, as what looks to the layman like egg white. This swelling was unsurprisingly the cause of my progressively worsening severe headaches and what I had been fighting throughout my busy summer of preparation for Afghanistan. These images are now on this blog under ‘MRI Scans’.
Turning to the CT scan images he said ‘I’m afraid also that the scans of your chest show that there are a number of tumours in there too. Whilst these are not AT THE MOMENT life threatening they are clearly a major issue that will need to be dealt with at some point.’
My mind was reeling, Kady was in shock, but the obvious question I had to ask was what does all this mean? ‘I am afraid this is Terminal, there are simply too many tumours for us to operate on and we are not going to be able to cure you. The best we can hope for is to alleviate the onset of symptoms, with rapid intervention treatment starting immediately, you may have a few short months to live. What are a few short months? Four to six, without treatment, less. If there were only one or two brain tumours we could try surgery to remove them, with so many that is simply impossible.
He told me the spread and type of tumours was absolutely classic Malignant Melanoma http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melanoma that had metastasised – in other words had using my blood supply thrown tumours out around my body into my brain and lungs. Malignant Melanoma, nasty little bugger. I was never a great one for sunbathing and had never been on a sun bed in my life, I’d had no idea it was so dangerous. Now I’d just been diagnosed with Stage 4 Malignant Melanoma with a 9-15% survival rate. http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/type/melanoma/treatment/advanced-melanoma