Sunday, August 20, 2006

Another Update on Mrs. TheOldMan

August 19,2006: Continuing the story from Monday (when I sent out my most recent Update):

Tuesday morning Susan’s surgeon consulted with two of the most highly respected thoracic surgeons in the western USA and decided to change the approach he’d laid out for us Monday afternoon (which I explained in the last post) wherein he was going to forego the mediastinoscopy (a surgical procedure to examine the inside of the upper chest between and in front of the lungs) and forge ahead with the surgery, since it was unlikely that he would learn anything from the scopic procedure that he wouldn’t discover in surgery anyway.

Persuaded by his colleagues, he decided to perform the mediastinoscopy first. It took place on Thursday afternoon. The procedure went very well and the surgeon removed three lymph nodes on the left side of Susan’s mediastinum and two enlarged ones in the middle. He had pathology done on them overnight and called us with the lab results on Friday morning. The report was “mixed.”

The good news is that the three on the left are benign. This means lung cancer surgery is still “indicated” and Susan is still scheduled for the Major Surgery this coming Thursday, August 24th at 7:15am at Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene. Since surgery is still her Best Chance, it is an extreme relief that these nodes from the left side were benign, because if they were malignant, there would be no surgery.

The “not-so-good” news is that the two lymph nodes from the middle of the mediastinum were malignant. This means the cancer has spread from the tumor in her upper right lung to the middle of her chest in the area between the lungs. While this does not rule out surgery, it is of deep concern to the surgeon as it “suggests” possible further involvement. Also, it means when he operates on Thursday to remove the upper lobe with the tumor and the involved nodes in that immediate area, he will be looking more thoroughly and more extensively at nodes and other organs on the right side of her thoracic region.

All this detail does not really change the overall picture too much. Since April we’ve known that she has an operable tumor and some operable cancerous lymph nodes. They have not been certain as to how many lymph nodes or their exact location and they still aren’t. The chemotherapy successfully reduced the tumor and has probably slowed the progression of the cancer, enhancing the prospects of surgical success. The surgeon will have a much clearer picture when he performs the surgery on Thursday.

Please don’t wait until this Thursday to accelerate your fervant prayers! We are deeply grateful for all your prayer support and encouragement. Thanks! Your Faithful Reporter,