Friday, November 20, 2009

Houston - 4th Installment

We have now been in Houston a full 2 weeks. It has gone quickly but much has been accomplished.

Now that Matthew has completed all the tests/scans needed for evaluation, we have a "plan of attack".

He will continue the chemo regimen he is currently on to hopefully keep the cancer stable while other procedures are completed.

On Tuesday, Matthew will have the diagnostic part of the liver treatment called TheraSphere or SIRsphere. This will be a "dry run" to further determine if Matthew is a candidate for the actual treatment. He has passed all eligibility tests to this point. If all goes well on Tuesday, we will return mid-December for the actual treatment. We will need to remain for about 5 days at that time.

We will return mid-January for more scans and evaluations and the final "ok" for surgery. If the answer is yes, we will remain for the surgery and some follow-up treatment (a month to 6 wks).

I know many of you are just as shocked as we are with the option for surgery. I suppose you could say we hoped for this from day one but had been told absolutely "no" until we arrived at MD Anderson this month.

Matthew has had excellent care since we began 3 years ago: from Vanderbilt, to TN Cancer Specialists (precious people who have been with us every step of the way), to Sloan Kettering. They have provided us with the best treatments AVAILABLE at every step.

You see, Matthew's cancer is very RARE and not very cooperative. Even though study continues on it, there is still a minimal amount of information to work with that is helpful in combating it. It has a mind of it's own.

The surgeon at MD Anderson has been there for 5 years and has done DSRCT surgery for the last 3 yrs. Our coordinating oncologist says she is the best abdominal surgeon MDA has ever had. She has completed a "study" on the surgery for DSRCT (Matthew's cancer) and has done 20 successful DSCRT surgeries. She has recently added a "hyper-thermic chemo wash" to the end of the surgery that increases the success tremendously.

Many of her colleagues question her for doing this surgery because it is grueling and lasts from 10 to 15 hours. She told us she felt if she could help people with DSRCT through this surgery - without harm - she wanted to be able to do so. She also said that it is a blessing to her.

This journey has been a "step-by-step" proposition. Fortunately, we have a God who steps before us and with us on this treacherous path. I used to think that the scripture in Psalms that says, "Thy word is lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path", meant that the whole path would be lit up. I am learning as I pray for my faith to increase that the "light" comes right in front of us and many times, just as we step. The next step may still lay in darkness, but the Lord is holding us, leading us, and protecting us.

Matthew will have a chemo treatment on Wednesday morning. We will prepare to fly to Tennessee that evening to be home for Thanksgiving with Greg & Ian. We will be so happy to celebrate ALL the things we have to be thankful for. Since Ian, Matthew and I will arrive late on Wed., loving friends at our church have volunteered to bring dinner for Thursday! Wow!! THANK YOU SO MUCH! We love you all.

May God bless each of you as you share time with your families during Thanksgiving. We give Him the praise and glory for all He has done and is doing for us.



nbta said...

Praying...glad you will be home for Thanksgiving and so glad these doctors have the calling to minister to Matthew and you.

quig said...

All of that news is so wonderfully positive. Thank you for sharing, it will indeed be cause for thanksgiving on Thanksgiving. Your journey has been blessed with the grace of God's healing guiding light.

We continue to pray and give thanksgiving.

Peace, john

Ruth W. said...

God bless you all and have and will forever keep y'all in my prayers.

Have a wonderful thanksgiving.