As the cancer spreads and proliferates, her cognitive problems become worse. Radiation brings no permanent solution to her cancer. As the author runs out of treatment options, she enrolls in a clinical trial of immunotherapy. Her cognitive difficulties get worse over the course of the four dose regimen, but she keeps the worst of it to herself. She feels that a lot of her problem is inflammation in her brain due to the immunotherapy, not the cancer itself. She manages to hide her problems enough to get the fourth and final dose, something she knows she wouldn’t be allowed to have if they know how much inflammation she has. If she has too much inflammation, the brain swelling will kill her. If she doesn’t get the final dose, the melanoma will do the job… fortunately, she wins her gamble.
As the inflammation goes down and the tumors shrink away, she begins to remember all the strange things she went to while her brain was swollen and being pushed on by tumors. She realizes she has lived through a situation very like schizophrenia, proving that mental illness can be created by physical stresses on the brain.
It’s interesting to read; Dr. Lipska relates the various cognitive issues she had to the parts of the brain that were inflamed or squeezed by tumors. The prose is a little choppy but readable. You don’t often read accounts of people who “lost their minds” and then were able to get them back. Four stars.
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