Saturday, December 11, 2010

MD Anderson--Day 2--Miracle #1

Thursday, December 9, 2010---Deborah spent an extremely restless night Wednesday night after learning from Dr. Kaseb that her future treatment all depended on the results of the CT scan. We knew from the biopsy that the cancer cells in the largest tumor were 'well-differentiated', meaning that there was a low probability that they had spread, but didn't know yet if the spots that had previously been seen would be found in one lobe or two, or even if they were all cancerous. We also knew that if cancerous tumors were found in both lobes, the treatment would be some form of chemotherapy and a liver transplant. So in a state of high anxiety we arrived for the 2nd appointment with Dr. Kaseb.When he came into the exam room he had another gentleman with him, who he introduced as 'the pharmacist'. His labcoat said 'Richard Lazano RPH, Director of Pharmacy'. We were a little concerned and wondered why he would be bringing in the pharmacist, but Dr Kaseb said he was there to answer any questions after we talked.  

Then Dr. Kaseb proceeded to explain that he had reviewed the CT scan from yesterday. He said that the 4 spots seen on the liver were indeed hepatocellular carcinoma, and that they were all contained in one lobe. He stated he had spoken with the surgeon and the surgeon felt that her cancer could be treated by surgically removing that one lobe. At this point Deborah began to cry and he asked what was wrong, thinking that he had said something to upset her. She explained that they were tears of happiness.
 Relief washed over us as we realized that our fervent prayers for a miracle had been answered.

Dr.Kaseb said Deborah would meet with the surgeon, Dr. Vauthey, tomorrow and he would let her know if she would need a special form of chemo treatment prior to surgery or not. Then he turned the time over to Richard Lazano to explain these treatments and off he went to see his next patient.

Richard was also a very nice man and extremely knowledgeable in his field. He had been working in this area for the past 15 years and is known as the expert in chemotherapy treatments used in liver cancer (according to Dr. Kaseb). He told us about the procedure that would most likely be recommended by Dr. Vauthey tomorrow if he felt she needed it. The procedure is the most current treatment for liver cancer and is called TACE-Trans Arterial Chemo Embolization. He explained that they use very small beads that soak up the chemo solution, which is then administered directly into the tumor in the liver through the arterial system. The artery is then blocked so the blood supply to the tumor is cut off and the tumor will hopefully die. If this procedure were to be recommended it would mean a 2-3 day hospital stay and then return for another CT scan in 4-6 weeks when the decision would be made to either repeat this process or proceed with surgery. This was all very interesting and we were amazed at the ingenuity involved in the treatment of this disease, however, Deborah so hoped that this would not be necessary. We left knowing this question would only be answered tomorrow when we were to meet with Dr. Vauthey.

We had received a miracle, we knew it and we knew there was only one person to thank for it. So we went where we feel closest to God, the temple! It was a perfect way to celebrate.
The Houston temple is beautiful inside and out.

Then of course we also celebrated with a nice dinner out at Carraba's.
 At this point Deborah said she was feeling totally drained from the emotional roller coaster,
 but was also feeling so grateful for what had happened today.

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