Thursday, 7 March 2013

Update on Mary: One Year and Radiation Information

One year ago I was getting a haircut when my cell phone rang. I thought it might be Jeff calling, so I asked if I could answer it. It turned out to be my parents, and as I sat in the chair, my parents shared that mom had a very large, inoperable tumor on her pancreas. I sat numb through the rest of the haircut and drove home crying. As soon as I got home I hopped on the internet and what I found was not reassuring.

Patients with inoperable pancreatic cancer usually live less than a year, with a tumor as large as mom's average survival is only 10 months with treatment.

Mom's doctor did not give her much hope, except to say there was a small chance that chemotherapy might shrink her tumor and make it operable. Mom decided to go ahead and give chemo a shot. We knew that the odds were long, but we prayed that we might have a little more time with her, and you joined us in lifting her up in prayer. You prayed for the tumor to shrink. You prayed for her immune system to stay strong. You prayed for her body to function well again.

A year later mom is still here. Her tumor is roughly fifty percent of what it was, her body is fairly strong, and she is preparing to start a radiation treatment that was not even an option to her one year ago. There is even a chance that this radiation could destroy the tumor. A small chance, but a chance nonetheless. In the past year, she has fought hard against this tumor, and she has beaten the odds. Praise God!

I'm tired. I have dishes to do and laundry to fold, so I don't have time to enumerate all of the many blessings that this last year has brought or how thankful we are that Mom was there to share in them, but I so wish I did. Highlights include the arrival of two new grandsons, Emily's engagement, the announcement that yet another grandchild is on the way (Kevin and Colleen), another Christmas spent together, and soon, another Easter. God is good. God is always good. He is good when the cancer shrinks and when it spreads, but we are so thankful that right now it is shrinking and that we get to enjoy Mom a little longer.

Today Mom went to the radiologist and they did the CT scan to map her tumor and prepare the radiation plan. We are really hoping that they will decide she can receive SBRT, an intense, focused radiation that could potentially knock out her tumor entirely. They aren't 100% sure that they will be able to do it, and the decision on whether or not they will proceed with SBRT instead of standard radiation will be made in the next 10 to 14 days. We will let you know as soon as we hear. Please pray that the doctors would make a wise decision and craft a good plan for treatment.

Meanwhile, Mom has caught some kind of virus and she has been pretty sick. She is starting a new antibiotic today. Please pray that her body will be able to recover from this so that she will be able to start radiation as soon as the plan is in place.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers. They've carried us through this past year, and we are so thankful that you have joined us in this journey.

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