Saturday, December 11, 2010

MD Anderson--Day 3--Miracle #2

Friday, December 10, 2010---Today we again anxiously arrived for the appointment with the surgeon, Dr. Jean-Nicolas Vauthey (pronounced Votay). We were commenting before he came into the exam room that he might possibly be French based on the spelling of his name. He swept into the room with 2 other men. In an obvious French accent he introduced one as an observing physician from Brazil. We didn't catch his name. He introduced the other one as his Physician's Assistant or "left hand man", Steven Wei.  As he looked at us over his glasses with a twinkle in his eye he said "I save my right arm for surgeries'.  A cute, probably oft repeated joke that immediately put us at ease.   (We forgot to take pictures, so these are copied from a web site.)

Then he got right down to business and said his opinion was that Deborah would just need a resection (removal of a portion) of the liver and would not need any chemo treatments prior to that. Again, the feeling of relief was palpable and we realized she had been blessed again. He said he would remove the right lobe and a small portion of the left lobe for safety to maintain a cancer free border around the tumors.  He said his schedule was pretty full, but that he might have a cancellation next Thursday, December 16th. If that doesn't work out, he will do the surgery the following Monday, December 20th. Deborah has naturally been anxious to get this taken care of the quickest way possible, so this was amazing news. He asked if we had any questions for him and if not, Steven would explain the details and out he went.

Steven then took over, gave Deborah some literature regarding liver cancer and liver surgery, and then proceeded to help us understand the upcoming process and what to expect. He explained that the liver is divided into two lobes, and each lobe has four sections in it. She will be losing all four sections in the R lobe and one section in the L lobe. We learned that a person can survive with only 20% of their liver remaining. The portion left in the body will regenerate and grow to a size that will function as though nothing is missing! Dr. Vauthey mentioned that liver resection patients can go on to run marathons if they desire.

He told us the surgery itself will take 4-5 hours, then she will be in ICU for 1-2 days, with a total hospital stay of 6-7 days. Then they require that she stay in Houston for 7 days after discharge, prior to traveling back home. The regeneration of the liver can take 6-8 weeks, during which time she will feel tired and should not put stress on herself by overdoing.

This time we celebrated by driving south to Galveston and to the beach. It was only about an hour away and we couldn't get the Glen Campbell song out of our heads. "Galveston, oh Galveston..."   We found out that Galveston isn't all it used to be cracked up to be. It seemed pretty deserted except for a street called The Strand which had some nice looking shops and a few people milling about, but a drive through was all we needed and then we headed back north to Houston.

Deborah knows she has a serious surgery ahead of her and a long recovery time, but feels so grateful for the treatment plan that has been put in place. She has mentioned how grateful she is for the many people who are gifted in the medical field and who have dedicated their lives to improving treatments and outcomes for all types of cancer. She is also so grateful for family and friends who have stepped in to help take care of her family and her obligations at home. She couldn't do this without you!
Thank you and keep her in your prayers!


  1. So glad to hear of the wonderful blessings. Deborah, we are praying for you and love you dearly!!!

    Your cousin,
    Michelle Harrington Feller

  2. Deborah and Kelly,
    Wow!!!! What a shocker to find out only yesterday that Deborah has liver cancer. (I can only imagine what it must have been like for Deb) I have sat here reading Kelly's wonderful blog with tears of gratitude for all of the blessings that you have received. Bart and I started praying for you as soon as we heard yesterday. Please know that your Utah relatives are here willing and waiting to do any thing that we can to be of any help to you and your families. Of course, we will keep praying.
    It sounds like you are in excellent hands. What a blessing that you were able to get to Houston so quickly! Best of luck as you have your surgery this week. We trust and pray that all will go well.
    I will certainly keep reading this wonderful blog. Thanks, Kelly.
    We love you!!!!!

    Sandra and Bart Spencer

  3. Deb, just a note to let you know that this "Irish Lassey" friend will be praying for you and will keep reading this blog to stay up on your progress. What wonderful blessings you have received so far. Please know that when you get home I am only a phone call away from any need that you might have. Merry Christmas, love, hugs, and prayers, Tanya Cannon :)