Monday, July 14, 2008

Thank You

Saying 'Thank you' really doesn't begin to express the gratitude we feel for everyone who has been praying and who participated in the fast on our behalf yesterday. I'm not really sure how so many people have found out about our situation in only five days, but the amount of love and positive energy we have felt since yesterday really is overwhelming. With every email, text or voicemail I get the tears start to brim because I just can't believe all the offers to help, inspirational stories that have been shared and just knowing so many people care. THANK YOU!

I know those who may be readying this that are not LDS know that fasting means to go a period without food/water, but I thought I'd briefly explain why we do it as members of our church. Fasting and Prayer often go together, and are usually done to exercise our faith and draw us closer to God so that we can be more receptive to receiving answers to prayers and blessings we ask for. Fasting is to be done with a specific 'purpose' in mind. Yesterday our families decided to fast and I am now learning that there were dozens of friends who also joined, and I know that Justin and I are blessed by their exercise of faith for us. Again thank you all!

Today we began the process of narrowing down possible Surgeons, Oncologists or facilities in general. We had a separate appointment scheduled with a local surgeon and oncologist here tomorrow and while we have not ruled them out, we've decided that we feel better about me being treated at a facility where the two work together with a team of other physicians to determine an individualized care plan. Here is our short list that we've compiled based on personal referrals from friends, family and physicians (in random order):

Mayo Clinic, AZ
Mayo Clinic, MN
MD Anderson Cancer Center, TX
Memorial Sloan-Kettering, NY
Dana-Farber Cancer Center, MA

It can be a long process being accepted to even meet for a consultation appointment at several of these facilities. Before we even got the pathology report back on Thursday last week that my tumor was indeed malignant, we had started the process to get into Mayo, AZ. We will hear back from them at the earliest on Wednesday.

We're very excited because today we already heard back from Mayo MN, and they had an opening for a consultation appointment this Wednesday with their GI team! So we're headed to Rochester Tuesday afternoon, and consequently had to cancel our appointments with the oncologist and surgeon here. Both were highly recommended to us, but work out of separate facilities, and as mentioned before we feel better about working with a pre-established team. We have started the new patient application process at the other facilities on this list and now it is a waiting game as they review my case and information. If they think I am a good candidate for their program they will contact me about an appointment. I feel like I'm a free agent waiting to be picked up by a new team :)

We won't necessarily visit each of these places. We will just wait this week to see what pans out. At a couple we found out the wait time for new appointments is 4 weeks or more, and after receiving the results of the CT Scan last week with the 'liver involvement' we don't really feel inclined to wait too long. It's no wonder there is a wait time like this, did you know that the American Cancer Society estimates over 1,400,000 new cases of cancer this year? Thats on top of the millions of people currently seeking treatment!

Our short term goal here is to get the chance to talk with as many of these facilities this week as possible and narrow down the list to 2, maybe 3 that we feel really good about and then make a decision. Its important to note that once you've begun treatment at a facility its very difficult to move to a new one (I'm guessing expensive too) making the best decision the first time is key!

I think that's most of the news for today....well let me re-phrase, I think that's all the detail I'll go into today :) There really is so much that I could write about but I'm trying to keep the information relevant and not go off on tangents! I'll say one last thing, Greg prescribed me some pain medication that has made me much more comfortable (and goofy) so I've been able to sleep in a bed (not the recliner), and eat turn I've got more energy!

Thank you all again for your prayers and fasting!