Thursday, January 21, 2010

Initial Findings from Jan 21

During the past week Stan had a colonoscopy and PET scan to determine the extent of his cancer. His earlier biopsy of the liver shows a cancerous tumor in the right lobe of the liver which is believed to be gallbladder cancer. A three cm polyp was removed during the colonoscopy but the biopsy results are not back from that. If positive, then we likely have metastatic colon cancer and chemotherapy will precede surgery to remove his gallbladder and right node of his liver. If negative, the treatment will be liver/gallbladder surgery.

The PET scan only showed cancerous activity in the vicinity of the liver. While this is good news, it was taken after the colonoscopy and removal of the polyp.

Unfortunately, the left lobe of the liver is not large enough to proceed safely with immediate surgery. There is a procedure called portal vein embolization where blood flow is cut off to the right lobe which causes the left lobe to grow. This essentially tricks the body into recovery before the surgery. The doctor would like to allow the liver to grow for six weeks after the portal vein embolization before surgery.

In November Stan had deep vein thrombosis (a blot clot in the leg) and has been on medication to recover from that. To mitigate the risk factors associated with blood clots, a vascular surgeon will insert a vena cava filter to prevent clots from entering the heart if they were to form and break loose.

The vena cava filter and portal vein embolization are both outpatient procedures done in a couple of hours.

In summary, while we don’t have an exact diagnosis yet there is a treatment plan in place and we are making the first few steps of a what will likely be a medical journey which takes several months. Stan is otherwise healthy, active and pain free. He has lots of love, prayers and support but can use any extra prayers.