In late October 2017, Lee went to the doctor to get tested for what we all believed to be a stomach ulcer. That night, Lee received a call from the doctor a large mass was discovered on his liver. The doctor referred him to a team of specialists at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta for further testing. After several tests, they confirmed our greatest fear, that the tumor was malignant. The tumor had gotten to big that it was pressing on one of his main arteries making surgical removal impossible.
Lee’s blood tests also revealed the possibility that the liver was a secondary location. They decided that they needed to do further testing to determine if the cancer had spread to any other part of his body. After several more tests, it was determined that Lee’s cancer was contained within his liver and bile duct. Lee has a very rare form of cancer that originated in his bile duct and then spread to his liver. Due to the size and location of the tumor, he was not a transplant candidate. At this point, the plan was to do radiation treatment for three months to see if the tumor would shrink enough that it would no longer be pressing on a main artery and they could then go in and safely remove it. However, before proceeding with treatment they needed to do a biopsy of his lungs to ensure that the cancer had not spread to his lungs.
On November 13, 2017, Lee went in for a biopsy of his lungs and the Doctor told Lee that there was a pin size scar on his lungs but that it was most likely from bronchitis and that they shouldn’t worry. The doctor sounded very optimistic that his lungs were perfectly fine and that treatment would begin soon. A team of surgeons were to meet that Friday afternoon to discuss Lee’s treatment plan and one of their doctors would be calling him by 4:00 p.m. Later that afternoon, Lee received a call from a coordinator at the hospital stating that the original treatment plan was not broad enough and that they were concerned that the cancer had spread to his gallbladder and that he had nodules on his lungs. He was then told that he was going to need broader treatment and that they wouldn’t be able to get him in to see a specialist until after Thanksgiving.
At this point, Lee had completed so many tests and each time the diagnosis was a complete 180 from the last. He had been given hope and almost immediately had it taken away. He was in so much pain physically and emotionally. He had constant nausea, writhing pain and had lost over 25 pounds within less than a month. It had been a long trying month and he was ready to begin taking steps to get him back to normal.
On Monday, November 20th, Kelly took lee to Piedmont due to his immense pain and nausea. He was immediately admitted and was scheduled to see a liver specialist to discuss the new treatment plan. The oncologist offered very little hope and stated that this kind of cancer is so rare and it is way out of her league. Lee was told that his bilirubin levels were at a 10 (It is my understanding that normal levels in an adult male are between 0.2 and 1.2). His liver was drained on November 21st. We are hoping that this starts to give him some form of relief.
The next step is for Lee and Kelly to fly to Houston to a cancer specialist at MD Anderson. Due to the doctors at MD Anderson having more experience with this type of cancer, they will be able to formulate a treatment plan that can then be carried out by the doctors at Piedmont in Atlanta. They are hoping to fly to Houston within the next one or two weeks.
Lee is a wonderful man that has touched so many lives. He is an amazing husband, father, grandfather, and pastor. He has always been there for everyone during their hour of need without hesitation. You can easily see how much the Mabrys are loved by the large outpouring of love and support that Lee and his whole family have received during this difficult time.
This has already been a long road full of so many ups and downs but we know that God is in control and that there is no greater healer. I will continue to update this page as Lee’s treatment progresses. Please feel free to leave words of encouragement for Lee and Kelly. Please keep all of the prayers coming!