Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Asking again for your prayers

Faith a few years ago

Hi all, today I have a Faith update. I also refuse to believe anything that is not positive at this point. The fact is they don't have all the info to make and informed decision, soon they will and I pray it's good news.
For now, I intend to pull myself up and put the work clothes on (Meaning prayer skills) and pray for a better outcome.

Update as follows:

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Family and Friends,

For the past 36 hours I have struggled to find the appropriate words and approach to share the news that Heather and I received late in the day Monday. I am sorry, but I have had no epiphany; there is simply no good way…

Late Monday afternoon we were called back to OHSU to discuss the results of the final pathology report and we were informed that Faith does indeed have bone cancer.

Like us, I am sure that each of you will have many questions, thoughts and concerns. Our heads and hearts are overwhelmed with trying to comprehend what the news means, which is nearly impossible because life has taken a very uncertain turn for us right now.

We are more than happy to try and answer any of your questions, but please know that it may take me some time to respond and we will not always have the answers readily available. For now, I offer the information below:

Ø The surgery performed last week was required to remove the deteriorating L3 vertebra, which had been consumed by a mass. The initial biopsy was thought to be benign, but the entire mass was sent to pathology for a complete and final diagnosis, which we received late Monday.

Ø It was diagnosed as malignant bone cancer called Osteosarcoma

Ø While the affliction is actually quite common, Faith’s specific situation is extremely rare because OHSU cannot find any documented cases where it has impacted a child under 5 yrs old and in their spine.

Ø The cancer is considered LOW GRADE, which I understand that LOW does not mean less harmful, but simply slower or less active in terms of tumor growth, which actually makes it more difficult to detect and treat. Hence the reason why it was missed on the first two biopsies, which only removed a small sample of the mass.

Ø The Staff at OHSU/Doernbecher’s are working with several top institutes across the country to develop a treatment plan.

Ø Our next steps:

§ a CT scan of her chest to check for tumors in her lungs

§ and a complete bone scan

§ Both of these are scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday 9/13)

§ At this point I do not know if we will have results the same day

Ø If there are tumors in her lungs, we were told that the situation is very bad and they would not go into details of this scenario.

Ø If her lungs and bone scan come back normal, then we have a 70% chance of survival.

Ø Our Oncologist is working with the Neurologist that performed her back surgery to determine when it is safe to begin chemo, allowing time for her back to heal more.

Ø We were told to expect that chemo should begin within the next 2 weeks, and will last for 30 weeks.
We explained the situation to the older Brother and the older sister last night, understandably they are upset. We emphasized the fact that every day hundreds of people across the world are diagnosed with different forms of cancer and every day people win the fight against it. We all had a good talk and we all cried a bit.

Little brother understands that Faith has a hurt back and he can see the incisions, so he is very careful with her and tries to make her feel good. At 6 years old, we feel that knowing she has a “hurt back” is enough for now.

Mom is doing well. It is still hard for her to discuss, getting the words across her lips is a struggle, but she is remaining strong.

Personally, I am refusing to remain anything but positive about this situation. In all of this, the only thing I can control is how I react to it and I do not have the energy or time to dwell in sadness. We have to remain focused on getting her the best care possible to ease her discomfort and fight this battle. Additionally, we have more kids than just Faith, so we need to ensure that we keep things as normal as possible for the entire family. I have taken a leave of absence from work so that I can focus all of my energy on our family while we sort through all of this and establish a treatment plan.
We have received many offers of support, to which we are sincerely grateful. Folks continue to offer to cook meals, help with kids, buy gifts for Faith, etc. At this point we simply ask for your prayers and positive thoughts. As a family we are doing fine. We appreciate the offers of support, but at this point meals, child care and such are not necessary – we really are doing okay in these areas.
I am sorry for the long email – we are looking into utilizing a website for future updates; stay tuned on this.
Finally, we do not consider this situation “private”. Please feel free to pass this information along.
Please let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to respond.
Keep Faith in your hearts!
Faiths Dad

6 Left A Love Note :):

Liliana said...

OMG, she will be on my prayers.

Jeannie said...

I feel so deeply for the family. For the parents especially as they have the most knowledge and the least "magical" thinking.

Holding them all up in prayer.

Marianne said...

Prayer wheel is spinnin' in the ATX.

Rebecca owns the hair salon where I get my hair done. Her son had bone cancer last year. We held fundraisers, barb-ques, auctions, etc. And Tanner has completed his chemo successfully.

I have faith in Faith's recovery too!!

Sweeti said...

Thank you so much! I knew I could count on each and every one of you.

Scott from Oregon said...

That poor girl. I pray she has great doctors and that she herself is strong and loved.

“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.” Hemingway said...

I'm so sorry. Will keep her and hers in my thoughts and prayers.

(Thank you for your kind words...)