Friday, February 15, 2008

All the Gory Details

My wife and I drove to Lancaster yesterday to meet with the orthopedic oncologist. It was a nice drive, as the skies were clear and the sun was shining. Particularly beautiful were the ice-covered trees in the higher elevations. We like the way that the sunlight makes the branches glisten against the blue backdrop of the sky.

The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork. Psalm 19:1

The doctor is encouraged by the latest MRI results, but wants me to have another MRI and a CT scan to rule out the spread of cancer to the ankle or my chest.

Surgery is scheduled for March 19 at Lancaster Regional Hospital. He said that I should plan on a three-night stay.

Here are all the gory details of the surgery. The doctor will be removing approximately four inches of the shaft of my right tibia and replacing it with a piece of cadaver bone. The cadaver bone will be held in place by a metal rod that runs through the cadaver bone and the two ends of my tibia. He said that there is a high risk of infection with this procedure and that the tibia does not heal well. He also said that in some cases, the procedure needs to be repeated. I appreciated his honesty and have much confidence in his ability. I have even greater confidence in our Father in Heaven who is above all men, all things, and all procedures.

The doctor said that I should be on my feet by the third day, but that I would not be allowed to put any weight on my right leg for several months.

After the surgery, the cancerous piece of bone will be sectioned and examined by a pathologist to determine how effective the chemotherapy was in killing the cancer cells. If necessary, radiation will be used to kill remaining cells. Chemotherapy will resume about a month later. From what I have read, the continued chemotherapy helps reduce the risk of recurrence. Ewings has a reputation for coming back with a vengeance.

When we walk out of each doctor visit, my wife likes to say, “I get to take you home today!” The best part of each doctor visit for me is going out to lunch with my wife. We arrived home in time to pick up our younger son from school. Our two older children were away for basketball games. So the three of us enjoyed a candlelight dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

Today, I am feeling much stronger – hopefully an indication that my red blood cell count is increasing. In fact, I am feeling well enough to tackle a few items on my long-neglected honey-do list!

I am learning to appreciate the simple things in life. I am learning the value of short conversations. I am learning the value of listening to others. I am learning the value of playing with my younger son. I am learning to appreciate the pleasures of living each day.

1 comment:

suzyhomemaker said...

Hello, there. I am catching up on your posts since I took a month off to recoup in Florida by my parents. Like you I am going through cancer treatment and recovery. Right now I have completed chemo with radiation to shrink and, hopefully, kill the tumor from a recurrence. I see that you are facing an upcoming surgery with risks. This is possibly the next step. Like you, I will be undergoing PET Scan and MRI next week, removing a stent is all goes well, and meeting with the gyn onc to determine what has happened and what are choices for the near future.

All I do know is that we are both Christians, in our early 40s or so, with families of younger and older children. It seems weird to think that you are so close in distnace as I live in Damascus and going through similar trial. It makes it more understanding that it does not matter if you are a "good" Christian, cancer occurs in our communities as well as not. This has helped me to hold onto my beliefs and keep praying for God to keep me in his hands and heal me. I just keep thanking him for my healing, for the doctors he brought in my life and for the love and prayers of family and friends, help as needed and more.

Anyway, when the time comes for a bit of recovery, perhaps you might try a trip to Florida. Maybe I could even help you out there. I know my week there with my parents, my in laws and 2 1/2 weeks with my husband and children as well restored my hopes, built up my strength and energy and allayed my fears once more. The greeness of the earth and trees, the blue skies, the warm breezes remind me that spring and hope can be entwined. The beauty there and the chance to just be "normal" without tests and stuff helped tremendously.

Just want to offer you hope. God is faithful and wonderful. He restores as we need it, he rebuilds us with time and prayers, he takes care of us and our loved ones. I sure hope and pray for a safe surgery, talented doctors, no infections and a early leave to come home once more.