Harvey met with Dr. Park, the surgeon, yesterday for about and hour and a half. (I'm in Georgia soakin' up my roots.) He took good notes and I'm just gonna copy and paste what he learned.
- Harv is a good candidate for surgery, so that is an answer to prayer. (Only 10% of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer are good candidates for surgery, because of various risks including tumor location within the liver.)
- Survival rates for the surgery itself are very high. As recently as the 1990s, the survival rate was only 80%, but nowadays it's practically 100%.
- The surgery will be done in two phases, to minimize risk of liver failure or the cancer spreading. (Surgery has an immuno-suppressive effect, and on top of that Harv's chemo must be temporarily halted after the surgery, so doing too much at once may be too risky.)
- The first phase will be April 25th, and will remove tumors in the left side of the liver. If the liver looks healthy, more tumors will be removed. If the liver looks like it has deteriorated from the chemotherapy, Dr Park will be less aggressive and only remove a few of the easier-accessed tumors.
- The surgery will not be laproscopic; there'll be a fairly long incision instead.
- After that surgery, there will be about 2 months of recovery time before the second surgery. Chemo, probably in mild form, will be re-introduced during that recovery period.
- The second surgery will remove the right half of the liver.
- There had been some discussion about the possibility of embedding radioactive beads at the time of surgery; however Dr. Park feels that would be too traumatic to the liver.
- After some period of recovery from the second surgery, chemo will resume, and possibly external radiation.
This week I'm in Georgia visiting my good college friend and her husband...followed by a visit with my sisters. I've learned, as I get older, that there is something healing about going "home." I kinda "get" what Scarlett felt about Tara. It's pretty special.
You people are pretty special, too... Thank you for supporting us and for praying for us all.
We love you.