My shower was quick but I allowed the warm water to stream down slowly rinsing the suds from my hair. Just two appointments today, a routine blood workup, probably a couple of vials for Guardant for the cancer study and then the usual Complete Blood Count and Extended Metabolic/Electrolyte panel. Then consult with my oncologist Dr. Hani Babiker to discuss the results of Friday’s CT and MRI. Tommy and I should be eating breakfast by 10:30AM. Tomorrow was the big day, an Electrocardiogram and then our first meeting with Dr. Stauffer, the surgeon who would perform my “out of the box” surgery to remove my tumor and clean up some other questionable’s deep within my stomach area on August 17th, just nine days from today.
The bloodwork results came in in record time and as I reviewed the results in my portal only one value stood out….white blood cell count was 4.1. It had never been that high before. In fact, three weeks ago it was 1.2 and below the mid range. Oh well, everything else looked ok to me.
Dr. Babiker entered the room and after hello’s were exchanged he pulled his chair close to the sofa where Tommy and I sat. He told me he was sorry I had been feeling weak and tired. (Tommy had shared this information with him via text a few days before.) And, I am also sorry to tell you this is most likely the result of the spreading cancer. He referred to the CT and MRI reports as showing no reduction in the size of the tumor in my pancreas and even a slight growth of the lung tumors, but more concerning was the addition of more leisons on and near the liver.
He shared that surgery was no longer an option.
This news took both of us by complete surprise. He further explained it would be a difficult surgery that would require five to six weeks of healing for a healthy person. There was no way to know how far the cancer had spread and to endure this kind of surgery and then not have a good outcome, it just would not be wise.
He was thinking aloud as he offered options of chemotherapy and immunotherapy and even attempt to create a vaccine from my own cells to fight off the cancer. But, that would take time. I didn’t have to decide today, but I would need to decide soon.
As I write this I am filled with disappointment, but, also gratitude. As my Joseph sat beside me and tried to verbally confirm what we were both hearing the doctor say, his voice quivered. He needed to understand precisely what was happening so he could report to our children the complete and utter reality. I am thankful to have walked beside this godly man for 39 of my years on the earth.
He walked me to my car and hugged me before I got into the car. It was certainly not the news we expected today yet we both know God is in complete control. We drove directly to church and prayed, cried and laughed as we sat in the empty church we both agreed was the place we had always come to celebrate, to mourn, to seek answers and to praise.
No matter what is ahead we can handle it because we believe in a God who has shown us repeatedly miracle after miracle and grace upon grace with each new day.
Today I pray for discernment. For God to guide me to make the best decision. I pray for an answer.