Thanks for the outpouring of love and prayers in our behalf. We are strengthened by them and feel of your love.
The procedure to biopsy the lymph nodes was a little worse than we wanted but much better than it could have been. The first procedure a doctor tried was called a Bronchoscopy. He put an instrument down the bronchial tubes and tried to get a piece of tumor tissue by putting a needle through the bronchial tube. The lymph nodes were like concrete from all the scar tissue and it was unsuccessful. The second procedure was done by a thoracic surgeon, Doctor Collins. I highly recommend him (at IMC) He we wasn’t sure if he could get to the lymph nodes by going down from the base of his neck, or if he was going to have to enter from the side through his ribs. The second procedure is comparable to having heart or lung surgery. Stephen would have spent a day or two in ICU and then 4 more days in the hospital. They hospital team prepped him as if he was going to have the more serious procedure. The doctor tried going down at the base of his neck first and it worked! We were so thankful for that tender mercy. It’s bad enough to have cancer without having to have major surgery to confirm it. Stephen spent the night prior to the surgery in the hospital and was able to come home about 8 pm on the day of the procedure. The incision is 2 or 3 inches long (it’s hard to tell because it’s swollen). The incision starts right next to another biopsy scar. Stephen thinks he looks like Nearly Headless Nick from Harry Potter! Today Stephen is home and feeling pretty good. His neck is very sore and he’s taking some pain meds and resting.
The ‘Tumor Board’ discussed Stephen’s case yesterday after the biopsy and they are going to meet with us on Tuesday to present our options and the ramifications of them. The general idea is: some type chemotherapy (to buy time so he can be home for Christmas) followed by a donor transplant There are several combinations of drugs and donor cells that can be used and we will see what they recommend. In the meantime, we are still waiting for the kids type matching to come back. There are some transplants that use a sibling with a full type match and others that use a sibling with a ‘half’ type match. Jeff or I could also be used for a half match procedure – but we are ‘old’ and I have had 6 children, which makes us much less desirable donors.
I’ll post again on Tuesday after we know more. Thanks! I’ll try to put a few pictures up.
It is so heart warming to hear from people all over the entire world that are praying for Stephen and for our family. Isn’t it great that we have the technology to communicate with anyone in the world? Bless you all. We are fighting for his life and we are not ready to give up yet. As the saying goes – we will cure this cancer or die trying! (ha! not so funny anymore) In the end, we will accept the will of the Lord and we have no doubt about his Eternal plan of happiness for each of us. Our days are known to God and will not be numbered less. We feel that fighting for life is part of showing our respect for life and respect for the value of the experiences we have on this earth. It is in no way showing a lack of faith in the wisdom and will of our Father in Heaven. We know God lives, that He loves us and is completely aware of our trials and our desires for Stephen and for every one of us. Like all who have gone before us, we will try to exercise Faith in every Footstep of our lives.
Love to you all!