Topic: Prayer Request

My wife, Patti, will be having a breast tumor removed tomorrow (6/4) morning at 9:30am central.  The doctors are certain it is malignant and very likely has spread to the lymph nodes, although that it ultimately educated speculation.  All treatment options (chemo, radiation, mastectomy, etc.) will depend upon the pathologist's finding at each step of the surgery.

We trust that God's in control, but we're unclear of His plan at this stage.  We seek clarity and peace with What He has in mind for us.

Honored to Serve for Him - Tom ('Mas) Pickering <)><

Re: Prayer Request

Tom,

I am so sorry to hear about your wife. My prayers go out to both of you.

Will she be under a local anaesthetic? Is she expected to stay overnight at the hospital, or is it considered outpatient?

"Change is inevitable, growth is intentional" - Glenda Cloud

Re: Prayer Request

Deborah -

Deborah wrote:

Will she be under a local anaesthetic? Is she expected to stay overnight at the hospital, or is it considered outpatient?

General anesthetic and outpatient.  The tumor is about the size of a golf ball.

Honored to Serve for Him - Tom ('Mas) Pickering <)><

Re: Prayer Request

Will definitely be praying over that. God Bless.

Re: Prayer Request

I'll be praying for both you and your wife. May God bless and heal her body.

He will return...

Re: Prayer Request

Update:

Tumor was malignant and was active and the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes.  She spent the night in the hospital - comes home this morning.  Has a drain tube in until Tuesday, when we'll hear the final report from the pathologist.  Continued prayer is appreciated.

Honored to Serve for Him - Tom ('Mas) Pickering <)><

Re: Prayer Request

Oh no, very sad news. Will continue to pray.

"Change is inevitable, growth is intentional" - Glenda Cloud

Re: Prayer Request

This evening we meet with the surgeon to have Patti's drain tube removed and to hear the final report from the pathologist.  We've been on pins and needles all weekend waiting for this report.  We both are anxious to hear and dreading it simultaneously.  This when we find out the type of cancer, how aggressive it is, etc., as well as put together a preliminary schedule for chemo treatment.  Our insurance let us know yesterday that our treatment center of choice is not in the plan, which means travelling twice the distance to the good place that IS in the plan.

Honored to Serve for Him - Tom ('Mas) Pickering <)><

Re: Prayer Request

I'm really sorry to hear this. I will be praying.

Re: Prayer Request

Will be praying for you and your wife Tom.

Exercise your faith!

Re: Prayer Request

I'll continue praying for you and your wife.

\o/

Re: Prayer Request

We met with the surgeon yesterday.  The removal of the drain was a smooth, non-painful process and Patti is now gladly independent of it.  We got a verbal report from the surgeon regarding his conversation with the pathologist.  The actual report is due in his office either today or tomorrow and they are supposedly going to fax it to us.  The pathologist indicated that Patti has a high grade cancer, very aggressive and fast growing.  It took several tissue samples from the area of the tumor, finally going all the way to the muscle wall before the margins were "acceptable".  She also has DCIS, a slow growing cancer in the breast that will likely get taken out by the treatments for the other.  Of the 12 lymph nodes that were removed, only 4 were cancerous, though 4 is plenty.  This places her in stage 3 for sure and possibly stage 4.  They are in a hurry to get her started on chemo as soon as her body is ready for it after the surgery.  The surgeon felt that it may be best to do a mastectomy down the road a bit.  The surgeon's overall tone was subdued and lacking in encouragement.  We meet with an oncologist in the Cities on Friday.

One of our main concerns are the myriad of other health problems Patti has and their interaction with the chemo.  Between the cardiac problems, renal insufficiency, liver disease, & diabetes, the impact of sending poison coursing through her system could be devastating to one of these compromised systems.  Still, they are doing wonders with cancer therapy these days.  Hopefully our insurance will not stand in the way of the most effective treatments.

God is great and in control, but we have no clue what His plan is for us.  We exist in a fallen world that is subject to suffering and death and hang on to the promise of heaven.

Honored to Serve for Him - Tom ('Mas) Pickering <)><

Re: Prayer Request

Praying for you both.

James Cooper --  God loving, banjo playing, geek!

Re: Prayer Request

We went to the oncologist on Friday for basically little reason.  Apparently, one bit of testing by the pathologist had not been completed (prognostic markers), so he was not in a position to even hazard a guess as to what direction her treatment would take.  He was astounded by her medical history and all the things "wrong" with her beyond the cancer and the extreme amount of medication she takes on a daily basis.  He ordered something called a muga scan to determine what sort of shape her heart is in as chemo tends to weaken the heart muscle as one of its many unwanted side effects.  That will happen on Thursday.  So we have more waiting and wondering and, meanwhile, she's starting to feel the same sort of stinging at the back of her armpit that she in the tumor area before they removed it.  A scary time for sure.

Honored to Serve for Him - Tom ('Mas) Pickering <)><

Re: Prayer Request

Trip to the surgeon brought out first positive news.  After removing the stitches from the lumpectomy, they checked with the pathologist regarding the missing prognostic markers and discovered they had been completed.  The pathologist faxed over a copy and we have it now.  The oncologist warned that if the three scores from these markers were all negative, it would be a bad thing.  They were, in fact, all three positive.  In a nutshell, as I understand it, two of the markers indicate the concentration of the hormones estrogen and progesterone in the cancer, since they as it were "feed" the cancer, and the third, HR2, is the genetic component that tells the cancer how to grow.  By using these markers, the oncologist can suppress the production of these components and starve and/or cripple the cancer while the chemo potion they concoct will finish it off.

Patti had her muga scan yesterday morning and we're still waiting on the results.  It proved an easy test - not too claustrophobic for her as she actually fell asleep for a bit.

The oncologist has already schedule an appointment for next Tuesday and we're at work setting up a second opinion to follow that up with immediately in order to make our final decision.

The battle lines are being drawn and the weapons are being selected and prepared for engagement.

Honored to Serve for Him - Tom ('Mas) Pickering <)><

Re: Prayer Request

Tom,

Glad to hear the latest news about Patti's test results, and that she was able to manage the MUGA scan without problems.  Will pray that Tuesday's meeting brings positive news too.

"Change is inevitable, growth is intentional" - Glenda Cloud

Re: Prayer Request

Tom,

Awesome news man! God is being there every step of the way. I will continue to pray for you and your family.

Re: Prayer Request

We met with the oncologist today and things are now on the move.  First thing was the fact that one of the prognostic markers, the HER2, was actually not positive but borderline and sent for further study at a special lab in Miami.  The results had come in before we arrived and indicated that, in fact, that marker was negative, not positive.  In either case, he was able to use this information to form a plan of attack.  The muga scan results indicated that the most aggressive treatment was not an option as her heart would likely be compromised too far as she shows signs of diastolic congestive heart failure.  What all this means is that instead of having an 80% chance of surviving, Patti is looking at a 40-60% chance.  Without the chemo, her chances drop to 30%.  These are just statistical averages, of course, but it gives us a ball park idea of how this is likely to turn out.

So...everything starts next week.  On Monday, Patti will have outpatient surgery to have a port installed just beneath the skin in her chest for easy access to give her the IV treatments.  Her veins are difficult to get a needle into under the best of circumstances and, since chemo tends to break down the veins they use, the port is the most sensible approach.  Then, on Tuesday morning, she will have the first of six treatments (4 if she does not tolerate the chemicals well enough), which will happen at 3 week intervals.  The day after each treatment, she will receive an injection which will minimize the decimation of her white blood cells which typically happen a few days after a treatment.  At these times, she will be very susceptible to infection with reduced protection to fight one off.  She will be given anti-nausea drugs as well as something to minimize the possibility of an alergic reaction to the drugs.  She will also be taking steroids the day before, the day of, and the day after each treatment.

A long list of possible side-effects were given us, but we have no clue which, if any, she'll be subject to and when.  The one thing they were fairly certain of is the loss of her hair, somewhere about 3 weeks after the initial treatment.

We covet all your prayers.

Honored to Serve for Him - Tom ('Mas) Pickering <)><

Re: Prayer Request

How are both of you doing? Good to know what the plan of action is. Do you have a support group to help out in the next few weeks? Has Patti had steroids before?

Will pray for successful surgery and treatments next week.

"Change is inevitable, growth is intentional" - Glenda Cloud

Re: Prayer Request

Praying for you both.  Over here, last year the original 'loud' kids ministry guy Ian Smale (known as Ishmael or Ish) was diagnosed with Leukemia last year.  You might get some encouragement from his story: http://www.ishmael.org.uk

James Cooper --  God loving, banjo playing, geek!

Re: Prayer Request

Deborah wrote:

How are both of you doing?

A bit overwhelmed, actually.  After a month and a half of hurry up and wait, things are finally in motion and most of the guessing and wondering is over.

Good to know what the plan of action is.

Yes, that is true.

Do you have a support group to help out in the next few weeks?

Patti has a large network of friends and church family that are there for her in whatever way she needs.  I will be meeting regularly with a pastor friend who has battled cancer twice and won.  His wife (Patti's best friend for over 40 years) is coordinating the efforts of her support network.

Has Patti had steroids before?

Yes, and doesn't do well with them.  Fortunately, she won't be on them continually for the 18 weeks.  She will only be taking them right around the treatment dates.

Will pray for successful surgery and treatments next week.

Bless you and all who are lifting us up. smile

Honored to Serve for Him - Tom ('Mas) Pickering <)><

Re: Prayer Request

James -

Thanks for the reference.  I will pass it on to Patti.

Honored to Serve for Him - Tom ('Mas) Pickering <)><

Re: Prayer Request

I continue to pray for you both. May God strengthen and bless each of you.

He will return...