William received a new broviac. During the surgery, the fluid in and around his lungs was found to have greatly increased from what the CT scan revealed on Monday. The decisions was made to insert a chest tube while still under anesthesia to drain the fluid. While in the OR, over half a liter was drained, much to the astonishment of everyone. That is a lot of fluid in a tiny little chest. He has since drained more than another half a liter. He is still on oxygen as his breathing is still shallow, but he has perked up, although the chest tube is quite painful with any movement. He was pretty out of it after the surgery, and although responsive, he didn't open his eyes for nearly four hours. And he opened them only because his best friend, James, arrived. Oh, the magic of a good friend. The two of them just talked about the important things, like Angry Birds. James and Lisa kept William occupied while Ryan and I had "the talk" with the doctor.
William has at least 3 tumor masses. One in his tibia (near his ankle), one behind his sternum, and a very large one that takes up the entire left side cavity of his abdomen. His liver and intestines have all been pushed to the right side. On the scan, with my untrained eye, it appears much larger than the original mass. The bone marrow biopsy preliminary results are still somewhat inconclusive and additional staining needs to be done, but it appears that at least minimal disease exists. Regardless of what the final results reveal, due to 3 separate, non-contiguous tumors, it has metastasized and it can only do that through blood. He is undeniably in Stage IV.
The cancer is very aggressive and has come back with a vengeance. The doctor explained that it is growing exponentially and described it as "exploding". We saw the scans, and although we haven't read the report to know dimensions, it appears much larger than the original tumor.
Statistics are statistics and ours are far from in our favor, but we still believe in miracles even if the miracle is not what we envision. We have shed many, many tears, and pleaded in prayer for guidance. The depth of our faith is being tested in unimaginable ways. As Ryan and I make the decisions to determine the course of action and treatment, we have felt strongly that we have to put all possible outcomes in God's hands. We have the faith to do so, but it hurts like nothing we have ever felt. We wish we had easy, clear-cut options, but we don't. Both of us have had to go to the places no parent wants to go to and prepare ourselves for what true patience and trust in the Lord requires of each of us.
As we have pondered and looked for answers, I read Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk, Continue in Patience, from from April 2010 General Conference. Here are some excerpts that impressed upon me the most.
"...patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well! Patience is a godly attribute that can heal souls, unlock treasures of knowledge and understanding, and transform ordinary men and women into saints and angels. Patience is truly a fruit of the Spirit."
Ryan and I can't change what we are facing, nor could we have prevented it. We don't know or fully understand God's will for William and our family at this time, but we will keep praying and fighting this battle until we do more fully understand.
"Patience means staying with something until the end. It means delaying immediate gratification for future blessings. It means reining in anger and holding back the unkind word...."
"Patience means accepting that which cannot be changed and facing it with courage, grace, and faith. It means being “willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us], even as a child doth submit to his father.” (Mosiah 3:19) Ultimately, patience means being “firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord” (1 Nephi 2:10) every hour of every day, even when it is hard to do so. In the words of John the Revelator, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and … faith [in] Jesus.” (Revelation 14:12)