First, Dr. Gupta, the hand/arm doc. Up until this point, we were under the impression that amputation was still a possibility. Although we have had great response to the chemo, and the tumor has shrunk significantly, we didn't want to get our hopes up of keeping his arm, but we (mostly me) felt pretty optimistic that he would possibly get to keep it!
Dr. Gupta presented us with a couple of options. The one fact that has remained unchanged the whole time, is that the majority of the radius (the bone running from the thumb side of your hand to your elbow) would have to be removed. Even though the cancer is dead, we don't want to leave any cancer cells behind, dead or alive. So, he said that 1. he could go in and fuse his radius to his ulna (the other forearm bone) and then fuse that to his wrist bones. This would essentially keep his hand in one position, permanently, making him very limited in what he could do. Or, 2. He could remove a section (the size of the missing radius) of the fibula (the smaller bone in the shin, not the big one you can feel) and replace in the forearm. That would also include some of the tissue, muscle, possible artery and nerve, and skin from the calf. He would then take a skin graft from the thigh to replace what he took from the calf. He told us that he has done many of these surgeries and that this would give him the best possibility of getting back to as near normal as before cancer.
My heart sank as we sat in that little room discussing these options. Of course, I never want to see my husband in pain, but I also know that he longs to be back to (or as close as we can get) normal. Back to working, back to lifting, like he used to. I hate seeing him limited.
We walked out of that office, me feeling defeated, him feeling excited to get to keep his arm. Obviously, I am thankful for NO amputation, also. It is just A LOT take in.
We next went to Dr. Price, the ortho oncologist, that would be taking all of the bad out. He confirmed what he thought was Dave's best option for getting back to work/normal activity. He told Dave that he would always be a bit weaker in the hand/arm and may never have full function again, but his goal was to get him as close to normal as he could. He was optimistic that he would be able to return to work, with only minor modifications.
We left there feeling a lot more confident with the decision to go that route. Dave and I talked and weighed each surgery pros and cons. After discussion, we/he decided to go big or go home. Dave wants the chance of normalcy again, and I don't have a right to tell him otherwise. He says he is not afraid of any surgery or pain. Again, in true Dave fashion, he is so strong and such a warrior. I could only wish to be like him.
The surgery will take place next Wednesday, September 3, and will be approximately 10-12 hours in duration. We will arrive at Brownsboro hospital at 530 am, and he will be admitted for 2-3 days, possibly 1 week, depending on how he does. I will be a nervous nelly the whole time, but I know he will do great. He is young, healthy and strong. My own personal super hero :)
The last appointment of the day was with Dr. Williams. He went over the PET scan with us and the radiologist report stated only "minimal residual tumor" was present. What was left was not active and it is essentially gone. He also told us that he would probably only have to undergo 1-2 more rounds of chemo (depending on the margins they get during surgery) and then he will go through about 6 weeks of radiation.
We are praising God for all of the good news today!!! Oh how He loves us!
Sweet friends, could you be praying for Dave's safety during surgery? Please pray for all of the doctors, surgeons, nurses and everyone else who will have their hands on him during his surgery. Pray they are able to remove all of the cancer cells, dead or alive, with clear margins, and only minimal amount of tissue removed. Pray for Dave's speedy recovery and minimal pain.
Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers thus far. He is hearing them and He is answering.
"Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." Matthew 18:19-20
And if I could be so selfish and ask for a prayer for me? Pray for my peace in knowing that my sweet husband is in His hands and He has it all under control. Pray for my peace and mind in a certain situation I am dealing with, that I could release my anger and forgive.
Again, we couldn't do it without all of you gathering around us and encouraging us. You will never know the gratitude in our hearts.
Also, one last thing. We found out today that Dave does NOT have synovial sarcoma. He has an undifferentiated sarcoma. The first pathologist said synovial, but the pathologist that specializes in sarcomas said undifferentiated. It could have affected treatment, but we had such a positive response, we aren't going to fret it. God's got this ;)