Monday, April 15, 2013

What the deal is...

It's a little over a week until Harv's surgery (April 25th)... We are excited and a bit nervous... and HOPEFUL.

Harv has come a very long way since he was diagnosed. His numbers are way better. And, in what I think is sort of a miraculous way, he has not experienced severe side effects from the chemo that he's had. The surgery he had last year on his colon was a boost to his health, too.

Unfortunately, there is a tumor (or multiple tumors) in his liver. One of those is kinda big. 

At our last visit, Dr. Lin told us that, since there wasn't a great improvement in that tumor from the chemo he had most recently, we've most likely reached the maximum benefit from chemo. There comes a time, Dr. Lin says, when the tumors are resistant to the chemo. He said that the largest tumor in the liver is "hunkered down" and holdin' on tight and us trying to fight it from the outside isn't really working. That's why surgery is important. And, thankfully, Dr. Park believes that there's enough margin to remove that ugly sucker! 

The plan is to cut that tumor out...Well, actually, the plan is to remove the whole right side of his liver. (Interestingly, that surgery will be done laproscopically.)  And, then we will wait for him to heal and for his liver to regenerate. After a time, he will go back on (probably) oral chemo. And, the likelihood is that he will be on some form of chemo forever. (BTW, the oral chemo + Celebrex is what Dr. Lin is calling "maintenance chemo" -- which keeps the tumors that have gotten smaller from growing.)

The hope is that he will be able to have another surgery later to remove the smaller tumor(s) in the liver...which are on the left side of his liver.

It is encouraging that the treatment he's had so far has had enough of an impact to do surgery on the liver. There was  a time when the surgeon didn't want to take a risk with surgery. It is also encouraging that in December of 2011 we didn't know what our future held... we didn't know what April of 2013 would look like. 

It's not lookin' too bad. He's got a little ways to go before we can slow down our doctor visits, but it is not lookin' bad at all. 

We are very, very thankful for all kinds of things -- excellent children who make our lives happier, excellent friends who have stepped in many a time to fill in the gaps when something needed to happen and who have just been available, friends who have prayed for us throughout this journey-we-wish-we-were-not-taking, family who have supported us, amazingly excellent medical staff (both in Bellingham and Seattle) who seem to know and enjoy what they're doing, and a God who has held us in his hands throughout this trip...  

We don't know what the future looks like, but we are trusting in the goodness of God regardless of what it looks like.

SO! Please begin now to pray for:
  • a successful removal of all of the largest tumor and the surrounding area that might be holdin' some teeny weensy cancer cells.
  • fast healing from the surgery.
  • fast liver regrowth with healthy new cells.
  • happy healing time at home (you know -- pleasant patient and pleasant caregiver :-)  )
Thank you all -- for loving our family. 

We love you, too!

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