Friday, July 19, 2013

Paraganglioma Part 4

Mural of Christ and the children--including those who are to be healed--from the third floor lobby of Primary Children's Hospital. I think this was in the original building of the old PCH.

Each day at Primary Children's Hospital saw amazing improvements for Sarah. Tubes came out, she moved out of the PICU, juice and jello replaced occasional ice chips, and by Sunday evening she was ready to come home. She has spent this week taking it easy on the couch from where she reads, watches DVDs and TV shows, and consumes blueberries, raspberries and strawberries to her heart and stomach's content. 

On Tuesday Sarah’s surgeon (Dr. Downey) called with the biopsy report. It is good news. The synopsis is: “there is no sign of malignancy”

Paraganglioma tumors do not show cancer like most other cancers—where cancer cells actually show up in the tissue. The only way you can know if paragangliomas are cancer is if they grow in areas where they are not supposed to grow--like the stomach or liver. Sarah's biopsy confirmed that her three tumors were all in a normal and expected place.

For the rest of her life we will need to monitor Sarah’s blood pressure, if it gets high again we will look for more tumors (it is likely that more tumors may grow), and then we will hope that the paraganglia tumors are just like these three and not in some odd place like the liver or stomach which would then mean that the tumors have metastasized (are cancerous).

Thanks to all of the family and friends who have visited, sent cards and gifts, fasted and prayed.

I recognize that some people are uncomfortable talking about health issues, but part of my desire in blogging about this all is so that it might give hope and information to other people facing the same disease. Back in 2009 when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer I recalled that a former mission companion of mine had written in his family's annual Christmas letter about his bout with prostate cancer. That night I called him and he graciously helped me begin the overwhelming process of trying to decide what treatment options to pursue. I appreciated his openness and willingness to share. 

 Super heroes galore.

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