Apr 16, 2021 Latest post:
May 11, 2021
Dear Ones, Friends, Family, and Companions on the Journey,
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
Mom, Dad and Sarah met with Dad's cancer doctor at Sarah Bush Regional Cancer Center to receive the results from Dad's recent biopsy. A couple weeks ago Dad had a bad cough and his heart went into atrial fibrillation. In this hospitalization and work up, they stabilized his heart and cough and then incidentally found a mass on his liver appearing to be unrelated to the atrial fibrillation and cough . . . but of concern. This week he had a biopsy of the 3.8 cm liver mass alongside a PET scan.
The biopsy shows that the liver mass is a cancer, specifically a Cholangiocarcinoma. Cholangiocarcinoma, also known as bile duct cancer, is a rare and aggressive type of cancer that forms in the bile ducts. Dad's is intrahepatic or rather in the liver versus out of the liver. The PET scan showed that the cancer, at this time, is isolated to the liver which is good news. The local cancer doctor also believes he is a good surgical candidate. He says that Dad must meet with the surgeon to know for sure. Dad has been referred to Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis where he will meet his surgeon, Dr. Ryan Fields . . . hopefully as early as next week.
The mass does reside next to some blood vessels. It is possible/likely he will need to go through chemotherapy to reduce the tumor size prior to surgery. This will be determined by the surgeon and doctors at Barnes. Staging will also be done at Barnes. Staging is how advanced the tumor is and impacts prognosis. As long as the tumor has not invaded the blood vessels, it will likely be graded as Stage 1. His local cancer doctor, Dr. Jagalamundi believes and hopes that we have caught it early and he thinks it is Stage 1. If the tumor has invaded the nearby blood vessels the cancer will immediately be staged as Stage 4. We will not know the stage for sure until we talk to the surgeon at Barnes.
Cholangiocarcinoma is an aggressive cancer and as long as he is a candidate, immediate surgical removal is the best form of treatment. With surgery, he has a 30-38% chance of cure. If it is Stage 4, the statistics show with this type of cancer, he may only have 8 to 15 months. We are praying that he is indeed Stage 1 and a candidate for surgery. Regardless of stage, he may also need chemotherapy and radiation; but at this time, we do not know for sure. Dr. Jagalamundi, his local cancer doctor, does have him scheduled to have a port inserted the week after he sees Dr. Fields at Barnes just in case this is needed.
Mom and Dad are absorbing this information and very much appreciate your thoughts and prayers as we walk this journey as a family with faith, hope, God's great love, and you.
Love, Val, Jim, Sarah, Molly, Emily, Ted and Lucy and Family