The MRI shows that the tumors have not grown in size. The tumor in Jo's back has not changed at all. The tumor in her brain has not grown but has enhanced. There is inflammation in the brain, and that is expected. The presence of the tumor itself causes inflammation and so does the drug that Josie is taking. The doctors think that the inflammation is from both. The good news is that Josie's immune system is mobilizing and ready to fight. There are tons of white blood cells in her cerebrospinal fluid! The drug is eliciting a response from Josie's immune system, which is exactly what it's supposed to do.
Unfortunately, Jo continues to have lots of nausea. She's taking steroids and they are making her feel better. The steroids control the inflammation. The drug may be working, but in order to qualify for another treatment, Josie needs to be weaned off of the steroids. So that is where time becomes a factor. Can they wean Jo off of the steroids so that she feels well enough to get through her days and make it down to DC for another treatment. More of the drug will cause more inflammation, and the cycle of symptoms returns. It's a complicated fight between Josie's immune system, the drug and its effects, the tumor, and the steroids.
The plan going forward is this. Wean Jo off of the steroids over the next two weeks and see how she feels and responds. She will have a follow up trip to Hershey next week but no trip to DC. If she feels well enough without the steroids in her body, she'll get back to DC in two weeks for another treatment, and hopefully her immune system can gain some traction and we will begin to see a REDUCTION in the size of the tumor! That is the miracle to which we are still clutching!
Josie, you and your family are so strong. Keep up the fight...we are all behind you as always with love and support and most of all hope. XO