Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Livers are Important... Prayers Requested (Part 4)

I probably should have posted an update for this a week or so ago.  Here is the latest information on Phil's dad.

I don't have many pictures of my in-laws and this is the only one I had available to me when I wrote this post on my lunch break.

His last scan showed one tumor and two possible tumors in his liver.  To treat those spots, they decided to do a TACE procedure (which means they go up through an artery in your leg, to the liver and use chemotherapy to kill the tumors).  During the procedure, the did some exploration of the liver and found 4 more tumors, for a total of 7.  They can only treat 4 at a time, so they treated the biggest 4.

After his liver ruptured last year, we all thought that he just had to make it a year without the cancer spreading outside of the liver (the one-year mark is tomorrow).  Turns out, we were slightly misinformed.  He needs to be tumor free, even in the liver, for three to six months in order to be eligible for the transplant.  So each time they find another liver tumor, the clock starts over again.  And the long term goal is a liver transplant.  They can keep doing the TACE procedures for these tumors that pop up as long as his liver function stays up.  And the chemo kind of kills a little part of the liver each time.

They have scheduled another scan in a couple of weeks.  If his liver function tests are normal, he will have another TACE procedure to help treat the other three tumors.  While he is at UVA for those tests/procedures, he is going to talk to his liver doctor about possible clinical trials and other chemo treatments that he might do to try to stop the liver tumors from coming back.  Just long enough to give him that 3 to 6 month window to be eligible for the transplant.  It feels kind of like a race because it is still a possibility that the cancer could spread to other organs, at which point he isn't eligible for the transplant anymore. 

Last week, Phil's dad had to head back up to UVA because he developed an infection from the procedure.  His dad waited 2 days after he first developed a temperature to call the hospital and report it.  OF COURSE they told him to come in immediately.  I am still in shock about that whole series of events.  He is lucky the infection didn't spread more.  We are thankful for that.

So that is the medical part of the update.  The non-medical side is almost as aggravating to me though.  Everyone is coping with things in their own way.  In the last month, the weekly phone calls have centered mostly around liver cancer (which is understandable) and they usually involve everyone being frustrated and yelling (can we say AWKWARD?).  It is fun.  I almost went into the details on this, but I will refrain for now.

So here is the list of prayers I am requesting:
-  Ed's liver function to stay up so he can have the TACE procedure in a couple of weeks.
-  The scan in a couple of weeks to not show any new tumors.
-  No more infections.
-  The doctors come up with a good treatment plan for Ed so he can qualify for a transplant.
-  Good communication and understanding between everyone.
-  Patience, understanding, and a sense of calm for everyone in the family.

We really appreciate everyone's prayers through all of this.  There is nothing worse than going through something like this and feeling like you are alone.  If you are a friend of Phil's or his mom, Faith, I hope you will be there for them and help them through this process.

Now go pray!  :)

Love, Mrs. Janney

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