I finally just got back to the hotel room after a very long day with my husband of appointments, consultations, crying, feeling better, breaking down again, putting on a brave face for Colton, and going to another consultation. Essentially, we have not received good news today, but we still have options moving forward.
This morning, we met with our primary oncologist and he delivered a couple of bad news blows: the two tumors that were left in August (very small) are a mixed bag: one shrank, one grew. However, there is also another mass that has appeared. Our oncologist thinks that it is probably another tumor, but our interventional radiologist (that we just met for the first time today) postulated that it also might be scar tissue or something from a dead tumor. Who knows. Regardless, the treatment that Ryan has been doing lately - the nasty, nasty chemotherapy treatment - is not effective any longer. So on to plan K (we've exhausted all of the letters A-J, it seems).
Radiation theraspheres. Some of the people reading this blog right now are probably very familiar with these, but most of you probably are not. Theraspheres are tiny, radioactive (Yttrium-90) glass beads that are injected into an artery near the right lobe of Ryan's liver, with the intention of attacking and shrinking and killing the 2-3 tumors located there (I should note, before I forget, that there is not any active disease in his lymph nodes, nor is there any disease anywhere else in his body - praise God). This will hopefully take place in the next two weeks. Pray for a.) our insurance policies to approve it, b.) for the consultations and procedure to take place expeditiously, and c.) for no more disease to spread in the interim.
A couple of positives about doing the theraspheres: Ryan will get about a month break from chemotherapy - if not six weeks. He is MAJORLY celebrating this. Also, this procedure does not have very many side effects. He's been feeling fine lately (aside from chemo symptoms), so hopefully he has the next six weeks to enjoy a small break from the drudgery of chemo.
Some patients have had wildly successful experiences with radiation theraspheres, some have not had any success. Our doctor does still have a couple of chemotherapy treatments in mind, so this is not the end of the line by any stretch of the imagination. This is a temporary setback. However, earlier today, it felt like I had my heart ripped out of my chest. This afternoon has been very, very hard and full of rage and tears, but at the end of the day, I know that we serve a God who is sovereign, loving, and wise. Nope, this wasn't my choice - I wanted to hear those words "cancer free" so badly today, but those will apparently be saved for another day in the future. If this is His will, if this is His plan, then we gladly follow this newest twist in the road and trust Him implicitly.
Proverbs 3 (NIV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.