Things are going pretty well around here. Kate took two doses of Avastin, and the following MRI showed that the radiation necrosis has almost completely vanished; also, the space where the tumor was removed has involuted (closed up) somewhat. This is very good news, but the aphasia is slightly worse. The doctor doesn't know for sure why this is so, but my guess is that the changes in her brain, although positive, are nonetheless disruptions and the brain needs to re-learn how to work in the new configuration. The really good news is that there is still no sign of any residual or recurring cancer, though it could still return in the future.
With the positive MRI we have tried reducing Kate's steroid dose from two pills a day to one and a half. So far this dose seems to be working pretty well, but we haven't yet seen any positive effects from the reduction (such as a decrease in blood sugar, or less swelling of the feet). These will probably take weeks to appear. We will meet with the oncologist next week and discuss additional doses of Avastin and/or a further decrease in the steroids.
Apart from that, Kate is basically stable. She's still managing her blood sugar pretty well, getting around with the walker, and in a generally good mood. She's still quite weak and wobbly, and has some memory issues as well as mild aphasia, but the naturopath (who sees her once a month, so he is in a better position to observe her progress than I am) says she is continuing to improve both mentally and emotionally.
I'm doing pretty well myself. The antidepressants have turned my emotional rollercoaster into a slightly bumpy road, and I'm generally keeping up with all the stuff that has to get done. I have been asking for help, and getting it, and also learning to accept that some of the things that don't happen didn't really have to. I have received my Advance Reading Copies of "Arabella of Mars" and will be distributing them to reviewers, booksellers, and such in January. I am continuing to plug away at the sequel; the draft stands at 76,742 words out of a planned 90,000 and I've hit what I would call "the end of the middle."
Apart from medical news, the last month has been quite lively. We attended OryCon in downtown Portland, had a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat at the home of our friends Paul and Debbie, attended a touring production of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," hosted several house guests, and had a relaxing Christmas Day at home with Kate's sister and her family.
Thanks to Mary Kay, Ulrika, Janna, Mark & Shannon, Mark, Robin, Paul & Debbie, Arashi, Nancy, Jacob & Teresa, Mary, Sara, Dave, Felicity, Mara, Ruth, Barb & J.C., Michelle, Allan, Marc & Patty, Sue & Rich, Alex & Isobel, Katy & Eli, Ron & Janet, and everyone else who helped out, came for a visit, or shared a meal.
2015 has been a very difficult year, and there's no getting around that. But we are also very lucky -- we have friends and relatives who love and support us, enough money, good insurance, excellent medical care, and few other obligations. We really appreciate all of you and look forward to spending more time with you in 2016.