Thursday, December 10, 2009

Evaluating Our Options

Karen's doing well. She's amazing actually, considering the few weeks we've had. Her mental fortitude would put Navy Seals to shame. More stress than I care to mention.

As the last post indicated, a PET scan showed cancerous activity in K's liver. We had a subsequent MRI. The MRI machine "broke" so that had to be rescheduled. Moriarty had some vacation which made scheduling difficult but we figured it out.

The MRI says there's a 2cm X 2cm sized tumor in Karen's liver above some veins. This is not good news considering this was an area already treated.

We do have some options, one of which we investigated today. Dr. Moriarty referred us to Dr. Schwartz, a radiation oncologist (someone who treats cancer with radiation). With tremendous luck we were able to get an appointment.

Schwartz walked us through the radiation option which amounts to a thing called the Cyberknife. Sterotactic Radiotherapy. What would happen is that 3 or 4 pieces of gold would be placed in Karen as markers. Then a special cushion of her body would be made. After the gold has settled (about 1 week) the surgeon would perform a very very fine CT scan of her abdomen. Then as Schwartz said, "the physicists take over" and they build a plan to shoot radiation into the tumor from every angle. Imagine an orange stabbed with a hundred knitting needless.

There's a 70-80% chance of the tumor being responsive to this and dying. That said there are better options; surgery first, RFA second, radiation being third in the list. If the radiation is done and cancer comes back in the same area, radiation cannot be used again and it would make future surgery more complex.

We will meet with Chamberlain (our surgeon) on the 23rd to explore surgery as an option. Rest assured, we will get to NED again.



Catherine said...

Thanks for the update, been thinking of you both lots lately. Hope to see ye in a few weeks. lots of love and prayers, cousin Catherine xxx

teresa loughnane said...

Thats the spirit Fran. Keep that positivity flowing Karen, we think you're amazing. We'll be praying that the meeting on the 23rd goes well for you. Love, prayers and kisses from all here.
Teresa xx

Anonymous said...

Karen just thinking of you. You are always in my prayer.

I wish everyone dealing with this a Christmas Miracle.

Love and hugs and prayers,

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you guys! will be praying for you!
Bea & Robbie