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2/23/2017 Latest post:
Liam's Story: February 3...that is the first day we heard someone say LUNG CANCER. To say it knocked the wind out of me hearing it, would be an understatement. Liam was in the ER because of CAT Scan results that showed fluid in his lung and extreme shortness of breath. He had already been in and out of doctors offices over the entire month of January regarding a back pain we thought was triggered by a fall he had. Liam being the adventurous and playful dad that he is to his 3 adoring daughters Clare, Bridget and Abby, was bouncing on trampolines at a playcenter over winter break. Feeling younger and more flexible than he really is...he did a back flip and landed awkwardly on his back and side. It stunned him and caused immediate pain that scared him a little. After a few days of dealing with what felt like sore muscle pain, he visited a chiropractor for some adjustments and tried to just manage the pain. After a couple weeks the pain worsened and started a new sharper pain up in his right shoulder blade that seemed to radiate over his shoulder and down along his right chest. He was getting no sleep at night because he could not find any comfortable position, whether lying in bed or sitting on the couch or even laying flat on the floor. This pain was harder to manage and was alarming enough to cause Liam and I to set up an appointment with our primary care to look at things more closely. He had back xrays done that showed a fracture in his T12 but also drew attention to a "shadow" in the right lung area on the scan. Over the next week, Liam went in for chest xrays and a CT scan. The focus now shifted away from the fracture in his lower back to a serious abnormality in his right lung. The trampoline fall seems to have been the "blessing" that caused Liam to go to the doctor but not at all what was causing this pain. The pain was a result of a rather large tumor found in his upper right chest and shoulder putting pressure on his brachial plexus nerves and around his carotid artery. Liam stayed in the hospital from Feb. 3 through Feb. 11. It goes without saying how hard and emotional these days were for Liam, me and our girls. We had not said much about diagnosis possibilities to our girls and just told them that his lung was sick and he was having trouble breathing well on his own. They missed him everyday and would call him and send him text messages and pictures. I woke each day getting them each ready for school and then spent the day at the hospital with Liam. I needed to be there for Liam and also be a second set of ears for the avalanche of information coming to us from various doctors. During this time he was put on a chest tube to drain fluid from his lung and was on a combination of pain medications to try and give him some relief. We also began to have visits from the oncologist preparing us for the high possibility that the tumor was cancerous and in very advanced stages. The second concern was the remaining "material' shown in the scans around his right lung...is it hematoma or another tumor? With inconclusive results from the 3 liters drained from Liam's right lung area, we were left with the option to get a biopsy of the tumor or be transferred to Fairfax INOVA for thoracic surgery to clean out what can be removed and biopsy as much as they can. We chose to trust our pulmonologist's recommendation and go to Fairfax for the surgery. We had been in the hospital for 6 days with NO results to confirm or deny cancer cells so the option to have a surgeon get in his chest and see what was there was as close as were going to get to an immediate answer. Liam was sent that night and had the surgery on Thursday Feb. 9. The surgeon confirmed our worst fear, advanced stages lung cancer. No hematoma...all tumor! It has metastasized and was inoperable. We would meet with the oncologist for an official treatment plan, but he was sure it was going to involve intense targeted radiation and chemotherapy. From the moment we heard the final diagnosis our life has been changed and each day seems to be more draining than the one before. Liam is a fighter and loves his girls more than anything so he is in this to WIN! We have a very tough road ahead but we are surrounded by so many friends, family and prayers that lift us up each day.