Monday, February 18, 2013

Timmy Tours the Big Apple wasn't exactly a tour of New York City, it was more of a whirlwind reconnaissance trip but it's all in how you look at it I suppose.

Jarret, Henry and I made an overnight visit to Memorial Sloan Kettering hospital to consult with a surgeon who specializes in sarcomas. We took the Amtrak to Penn station from Syracuse which was a very comfortable way to travel! After the exhaustion and emotion of traveling there, navigating the subway, and talking with the doctor (as well as dealing with the embarrassment of Henry spitting up ALL OVER the floor of the exam room), I could not imagine having to drive the five hours home. As I write we are speeding toward Utica on the train, and I am completely exhausted, so I ask your forgiveness for my poor typo-laden writing.

So, by now you must be wondering what we discovered during our visit and the answer is - not a whole lot.

The trouble is that sarcomas are a very rare type of cancer (we all know what a rare treasure Jarret himself is, so Timmy must have thought they would be kindred spirits, but I digress). Out of all the cancers diagnosed in the u.s. in a year only 10,000 to 15,000 are sarcomas. Then there are different types and subtypes of them, and since they are so rare, there just aren't enough numbers of cases to research treatment plans and formulate a protocol of sorts. Much depends on the type of sarcoma, where it is located and how involved it is in the tissue. From there you determine whether you have radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, and in what order these occur, all of which also depends on the type of sarcoma, where it get the picture. And in the field of oncology, there is much debate about all of this.

While the scans showed that the sarcoma cells have not spread so far, they could be there in too small a quantity to be visible. The samples from the biopsy are still being studied, so we are in a state of flux right now. The specialist today could not make firm reccomendations because we don't know the subtype of the cancer.

On Thursday of this week we are going to meet with a medical oncologist at strong hospital in Rochester to see whether he recommends chemotherapy and whether it should be administered before or after surgery. Then we will call the specialist in New York on Friday, by which time his pathologists will have determined what they think is the subtype, and see what he has to say.

Then we will determine where we will proceed with treatment - Strong or Kettering. And of course, in the meantime we will be praying like crazy for discernment to know God's will.

Thank you for your prayers, your love and your support. Without them we would be adrift at sea.

With love,

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