Surgery - surgery is the most common treatment for sarcomas. Other treatments such as radiation and chemo might be recommended depending on a number of factors. I had surgery on October 21. The surgery lasted about five hours, more than expected, but with good results. The tumor was located on the same site as the first one. This time, however, it was attached to one of the main veins and also resting on a major artery. While the artery was spared, the vain had to be taken out. Unfortunately this aggravates the swelling I've been fighting against for four years.
Overall, the procedure was a success. I woke up from the anesthesia with the good feeling that the cancer was gone - the visible part at least :) I stayed in the hospital for three days being cared for by an amazing team of doctors, nurses, and my beautiful and lovely wife.
Recovery - one of the major concerns of Dr. M, my surgeon, was the wound and how it would heal. Because of my radiation therapy four years ago, and recurrence on the same site, there was a high risk of wound healing issues and infection. Yet none of this happened - Hamedullellah! God in His marvelous grace and goodness took care of everything and the wound healed nicely, to everyone's surprise. Another major blessing was to be able to stand on my feet and walk without the help of a walker or a cane within the first week of recovery. In fact my surgeon was amazed to see me walking nicely into her office room two weeks after the surgery. I thanked her for the good work and God for really making it possible. I finally got the stitches (38) out today. Now I should wear the compressing stockings again to help control the swelling. Also, PT is going well. I go 2-3 times a week and it has helped me a lot. PT this time has been so much better and it has made a big difference in my speedy recovery.
Future treatment(s) - on my first post-op appointment I was given the pathology report. The biopsy reported a tumor of about 6cm of Grade 2. The significance of that is that sarcoma patients don't want a tumor that is bigger than 5cm and higher than Grade 1. A big tumor (>5cm) of high grade puts the patient at a much higher risk of recurrence and metastasis - and, unfortunately, I'm in that group. Today I went back to Hopkins for the most important appointment post surgery. I was scheduled to see Dr. C, a leading medical oncologist, to discuss radiation and chemo therapy. We had a long conversation. Thanks to google, I read a number of scholarly articles/papers about similar cases and had a number of questions ready for him. Radiation is discarded completely. I had a high dose of it four years ago and more radiation this time would not be beneficial. Chemo, however, is on the table to be considered. This is a difficult decision, however, because liposarcomas aren't high sensitive to chemotherapy anyway, but if and when it works, it could reduce the risk of recurrence and metastasis... Friends, I humbly ask that you continue to pray for me as I earnestly seek God these days pleading for divine wisdom and a direct word from Him. I understand that many of you reading this paragraph may feel tempted to share your own convictions about these therapies. I appreciate your concern, and I'd ask that instead of trying to persuade me one way or the other that you lift me up in prayer.
There are a lot of thoughts going on in my mind these days. It's amazing how life is so vulnerable. As I write these words the media can't stop reporting on global terror and the horrible and evil events of the last few weeks. There is suffering, pain, anxiety, uncertainty, misery all over the place. How much longer, I ask. How much longer? As I drove back from the hospital today, I turned on the radio and one of my favorite songs was playing. The words were for me. The words are for everyone who may be going through a detour, who may be facing something that doesn't make sense, a situation that can't be explained. I want to leave you with the words of the chorus and a link to the entire song. May it bring peace to your heart as it did for me.
Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?