Well, we had a scan, but it was the wrong scan :-(. The dye ordered was not for the test the Dr. had ordered; therefore, after a 2 hour scan, we don't have anymore answers in terms of whether cancer has spread beyond what is already known. While David and I were initially very discouraged by this information, we are certain that for some reason the Lord allowed it to happen, so we will roll with it. In more encouraging news, Andrew's oncologist at TCH walked into the room today having consulted many specialists (to include adult and pediatric oncologists at other centers, surgery, etc) and had a plan, for which we really appreciate. The truth is, we are still standing at the foot of a mountain the size of Mt. Everest, but in God's strength and for His glory we will scale that mountain one step at a time, while storming the gates of heaven with prayer. At this point, the surgeons don't think their is value in doing surgery on the pancreas now because it would entail a MAJOR operation called a whipple (it's no joke, you can google it) and that risk doesn't make sense until we know how to go about addressing the liver tumors. The number one priority is to address Andrew's pain, so the thought is that by shrinking the tumor on the pancreas it "should" alleviate his pain. Therefore, Andrew will start chemo therapy as soon as our insurance approves it (hopefully that will be by Monday). He will do chemotherapy 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off for two rounds and then they will rescan him in two months to see if the chemo therapy is working in shrinking the tumors. HUGE PRAYER REQUEST: Will you please pray without ceasing that the chemo would shrink the tumor and lymph nodes radically (to the point that it would blow the Dr's minds and God would be the only explanation). The hope is that if we can shrink the tumors and lymph nodes adequately and confirm that there isn't cancer anywhere else in his body, which will be revealed on next week's scan, then live transplant may be an option. HUGE PRAYER REQUEST: Please pray that the two part scan Andrew has next week (the one that we were actually suppose to have today) on Tuesday and Wednesday does not reveal cancer anywhere else in his body (they will be especially looking at the lymph node by his aorta). If these two goals are accomplished (no cancer elsewhere in the body and the chemo successfully shrinks the tumors and lymph nodes), we can talk about removing the tumor on the pancreas and lymph nodes (it may still involve the need for a whipple procedure, but it would be worth it if it meant it could get us to the next step) and Lord willing, prove there isn't any cancer in his body outside of the liver, he may be eligible for a liver transplant. SO many things have to go perfectly for all of these steps to actually come to fruition and every single one of them are completely out of our control, but totally not out of God's control.
STOP AND PRAY AT 4:00 PLEASE! Our Oncologist is meeting with the surgeon that is the head of liver transplant at 4:00 today (please stop and pray for this meeting now) to find out what the criteria would need to be in order to get Andrew a new liver. Will you please, please, please pray that the criteria isn't set out of reach for Andrew (meaning goals that we can't meet)? That we would, by God's grace, be eligible for transplant some day!
At this point, we couldn't be more pleased and grateful for how Andrew's Oncologist at TCH is handling our case, so both David and I feel a huge sense of peace receiving treatment and care there and still consulting MD Anderson along the way (our TCH Oncologist is in full support of talking to as many specialists as possible) to make sure they don't have any other suggestions. Since Andrew's cancer is so rare, we are taking an all hands on deck approach. David even spoke to the head of the pediatric NET program in Iowa yesterday to get her opinion (at which time he learned that our Dr had already reached out to her to get her opinion... love that). We just want to go where God leads us and at this point we feel good about staying at TCH (while consulting with MD Anderson) until He says otherwise.
There are two other stories (not medical related) that I would love to share with y'all as further evidence of God's goodness and faithfulness during this time, but I will save that for next time in an effort to keep this post short and to the point (short for me ;-)
Please don't take your foot off of the prayer gas pedal! God hears our prayers and we feel lifted up by your prayers every step of the way. Thank you for being a faithful member of Andrew's Army, we can't imagine this journey without you! Holding on to the hope that does not disappoint! God is able!