This morning started with a glimmer of hope. A call came in to Dad's room saying that an orthopedic-oncologist was coming in to see him and that there was some chance that he may be able to remove the tumors from his femur. Minutes later, he arrived in Dad's room, after reviewing his test results and told Mom & Dad that that was not an option since he does not feel the tumors in his hips/legs are the primary source of cancer. He agreed that the best next step was to insert the rod into Dad's right femur and get started with chemotherapy and radiation. He said that in all of his years of experience he's only seen 2,maybe 3, cases of this kind of cancer.
Dad had surgery early this afternoon and everything went very well. There was mention at first of them implanting rods into both legs at once but the orthopedist later said that that would be too much surgery for Dad to handle in one day. There were big concerns about blood loss since this cancer is a cancer of the blood vessels but Dad only needed a very small amount of blood during surgery. The surgeon was able to get a large sample to send to pathology so that they can reconfirm the diagnosis and do some tissue-typing to see if the chemo team can get any hints into how to tread Dad. He was in considerable pain after moving to his new room in orthopedics but once he had some pain medicine he was much more comfortable. He ate a very small amount of dinner but drank his Ensure, as he promised us he would. Dr. Reddy (his oncologist) came in to say that he wanted Dad to take the weekend to recover and start some rehab. Mentions were made of having surgery on his left leg on Monday but I doubt that will happen at this point. It doesn't seem nearly as urgent as the surgery on his right leg was.
I did what I said I wouldn't do and googled Epithelial Angiosarcoma. I didn't like what I found. I should have just waited for the doctors to explain everything to us. Here's a small part of what I read:
Angiosarcomas as a class are very rare - they represent only 1 percent of all sarcomas - and epithelioid angiosarcomas represent only a fraction of the total number of angiosarcomas that occur each year. Since there are about 7,000 cases of sarcoma in the United States each year, the incidence of angiosarcoma is under 100 individuals, and that of epithelioid angiosarcoma even smaller - possibly amounting to only a handful of individual cases each year. Angiosarcoma in some parts of the body is so rare that less than a dozen cases have ever been described in the world scientific literature.
So we find ourselves asking where in the world this came from. Dad asks if it was something he did, something he worked around. Was it on the farm? Was it in the trash? This, truly, is not important. What is important is that God has allowed this ugliness into our lives. The One who loves us enough to die for us will never leave our side. He has heard our weeping and our cries for mercy, and he has accepted our prayers.
Thank you for walking beside us down this dark road. Thank you for caring for our children, feeding our pets, buying us groceries, shoveling our walks and snowblowing our driveways. Thank you for letting us cry on your shoulders and for taking time to cry out to the Lord on our behalf. Your prayers have been used to help us keep our heads lifted and God's mercies to us have been new every morning.
Psalm 61 LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint;
heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony.
3 My soul is in deep anguish.
How long, LORD, how long?
4 Turn, LORD, and deliver me;
save me because of your unfailing love.
5 Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
Who praises you from the grave?
6 I am worn out from my groaning.
All night long I flood my bed with weeping
and drench my couch with tears.
7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
they fail because of all my foes.
8 Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the LORD has heard my weeping.
9 The LORD has heard my cry for mercy;
the LORD accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;
they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.