Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hope, it's a beautiful thing.

Today we had lots of appointments with nurses, oncologists, lab technicians, etc... it was a busy day. We met a lot of people who were incredibly nice - this place just amazes me with how helpful and positive everyone is, from the food preparation workers all the way to the doctors and nurses and front desk workers at the hotel. The patient is clearly the focus here at this institution... anyway, I digress. I'm sure that you're wondering why I titled this with the word "hope" in it. Let me tell you why!

The oncologist that we met with today, Dr. Mellihor (can't guarantee that is spelled correctly), was very upfront with us about what we're facing. He confirmed that yes, this case of cholangiocarcinoma IS inoperable. But, he encouraged us to not start planning a funeral yet. Every case is different, and he didn't want us to think that we were just going to be another statistic. He is planning to take a much more aggressive approach than our Mayo oncologist. The Mayo oncologist basically told us to do a conservative approach to chemotherapy (so as to extend life, not really to fight the cancer). The CTCA oncologist's exact words were "Let's go after this". I wanted to pump my fist in the air and shout out "Darn right, let's get after this right now!" It's so encouraging to have someone that is willing to give us a shot!

Dr. Mellihor said that if chemotherapy will shrink Ryan's tumors, then we might be able to do an operation in the future to remove any remaining cancer. Radiation might be useful at some point to "kick start" the shrinking of any stubborn tumors. Transplantation wasn't even discussed... that would be far in the future, I imagine.

So the next few days are going to be full of more tests and appointments... a more extensive CT scan, meetings with nutritionists, GI doctors, even a possible ... sigh ... colonoscopy (small chance there might be some intestinal involvement). We will meet with our team of doctors next week (probably Tuesday) and get the full picture and put together a treatment plan. Ryan will most likely even get his first round of chemotherapy Tuesday or Wednesday. This will likely knock him on his butt, to say the least. But he is definitely the toughest person I've ever met - I'm confident he will handle it well.

While this is a wonderful piece of news, we won't start saying "Phew, we're free and clear." We have a long road ahead of us, and odds are still against us. Chemotherapy has about a 30-40% success rate of shrinking tumors. But on the other hand, we continue to place our hope in the healing hand of our Lord, not in modern medicine. If it is God's will that Ryan is healed, then He will make that happen in one touch of his hand. One touch of the cloak heals us; chemotherapy is only a tool.

So here is an updated prayer list: please pray for a miracle, peace, grace, answers, open doors to share with people why we have so much hope, and for Ryan's body to respond to treatment. We continue to be appreciative of you thinking of us, praying for us, and all of the cards, gifts, spa treatments!, and kindness that have been poured out on us. We are so amazed and humbled. We love you guys.

11 comments:

Pam said...

Encouraging news! And, a second thing--I know that in the grand scheme of things this might seem like a funny comment, but Ryan and Kendra, you both express yourselves in writing so very well. Your gift of communication is being used by God.

Eric said...

thanks for the update. was encouraging. thinking and praying for you both often-Eric and Ann

Delynn said...

so excited to have a doc on board! Will be praying and praying and praying. Love you!

Joy said...

You two are the strongest people I know. I will continue to pray that there is more good news to come and that the healing hands of God are molding the outcome.
Joy <3

Barbara said...

Hope is a tremendous gift! I love your fist in the air - go get 'em is right. Prayers continue from Texas... and Pam is right - you are such an inspiration to all of us who are following your journey. If you receive from others as much as you give through your words and guidance, you are truly blessed. Hugs for Colton :) Barbara

Emma said...

GET AFTER IT!!!

Brian said...

I was speaking with some of my doctor friends about Ryan's condition and they mentioned that the faster a tumor appears the more effective chemotherapy usually is. Great news in this case!

I'm praying for effective chemo and a liver to become available. I'm also praising God for the witness of faith you two have displayed through this difficult struggle.

Janelle said...

Ryan and Kendra, Thank you so much for the blog, and for the privilege of having regular updates. Praying for you often - all the way up here in British Columbia, Canada. I so appreciated your family, when I worked at Michindoh years ago. I have been praying for Colton specifically the last few days. May the peace of Jesus, surround him during these days of travel. And may the wonderful legacy of faith he is growing up with, continue to penetrate his heart, even as a wee little boy. Much love and hugs from the Danyluk (Janelle Mudge) family

Anonymous said...

Ryan, Kendra and Colton. We are praying for you and are inspired and encouraged by your notes. It is good to be in God's family to bear one anothers burdens. We try to pray daily for you. The other morning at 3 am God woke me up and said it is your turn to pray for Ryan and Kendra. Sometimes I wonder how to pray without ceasing and being able to get other things done during the day. God uses others to cover for us during the day and night. We love you!

Paul and Laura

Josh said...

This is good news! I agree Kendra, Ryan's a tough guy (although I could still kick his butt ;-)). You guys continue to be in our prayers. Thanks for your openness which allows us to pray more specifically. God's got a plan! Stay true! Love you guys!

Chad said...

Great news! I hope today was a blessing as well. Breakfast with teachers from all three buildings went well this morning. Many, many teachers and support staff are asking about you and praying. God is being glorified through this! By the way, your dog is slobbering on my leg as I type this! :)
-Tricia