Thursday, 23 August 2012

Update on Mary: Recalibrating

Over the course of the last week Mom and Dad have been very busy getting second opinions from two new oncologists and one surgeon. They have been very impressed by the doctors they have seen, and the opinions they received have been very similar, which has been helpful. Unfortunately, all three doctors think that surgery is not the best option for Mom, and that her best case scenario is to continue on the chemo that she is doing now, wait for it to stop working, and then try something new. She has a few options for different things to try, and, if all goes well, she should be able to buy some more good-quality of life time. The current guesstimate is a year, give or take, all depending on how well she tolerates and responds to new chemo-therapies. Obviously we hope for more, and obviously the news that there is no real possibility of surgery is crushing. Even though it was always a very long shot, it was nice to have that little speck of light at the end of the tunnel - and now it is gone. Here's why: pancreatic cancer is a beast, and it has probably metastasized into Mom's lungs. and probably to other places that the CT and PET scans aren't picking up. While the surgeon could possibly cut out Mom's tumor and recreate the portal vein to her liver that the cancer has clogged, the operation would be extremely invasive and the recovery would take about three months. During those three months Mom could not be on chemo and this would allow all the little cancer cells inside her body that were not part of the original tumor to proliferate and start new tumors in different organs. Thus, doing the surgery would decrease her quality of life and likely shorten the length of her life. There is no reason to endure extra pain to have a shorter life, so surgery is off the table. The good news is that the oncologists mom saw have some creative ideas for new chemotherapy options once the one Mom is currently on stops being effective. It was nice to have a more optimistic timetable to work with (a year is much better than "months") and hope for. We need loads of prayer. I know you have been praying so much already, but here is our growing prayer list:

Pray for a miracle. It's always best to ask for what you really want first. God is big. He could do it. We know that He probably has a different plan, but let's ask anyway.

Pray for Mom's spirits. This has been a hard week on her. She is digesting very difficult information right now, and needs strength and hope. This fight is both physically and emotionally wearing.

Pray that she feels God's love as He cradles His child during this difficult storm. We know He is there, but it doesn't feel that way sometimes. Pray also that her digestion would pick up. She needs to eat to keep up her weight (which is stable now- yay!) and her strength, but she digests food so slowly that it is difficult to eat enough to do so.

Pray for wisdom as Mom and Dad make some big decisions about which oncologist to continue seeing, how much time Dad should take off from work, and how best to make the most of the upcoming year.

Praise God for the gift of time that we have been given thus far. Before Mom started chemotherapy she was so sick, and it has truly been a blessing for all of us to have her in better shape so that we can make memories and focus on enjoying her and spending time with her.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and for your continued commitment to loving our family. It's going to be a rough year, and we are so thankful that you are walking alongside us as we ride the ups and downs of this cancer roller-coaster. We love you and appreciate you so much.

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