Posted 12/9/15 at 12:55 p.m.
Finally heard from the doctors. I’m having a hard time figuring out how to communicate the latest news without sounding blunt or bleak or hopeless, so forgive me if I sound blunt, bleak, or hopeless…
Dr. Yamashiro (Ana’s primary oncologist) called last night. First, he confirmed my original fears that Ana had more than three tumors in her pelvis and abdomen. I don’t really know why that wasn’t addressed while she was in the hospital – maybe they needed more time to interpret the PET scan, but she has more than three and they are also in her abdomen. When I asked how many new ones there were, he said he’d get back to me after talking with the radiologist. I’m not sure it matters – the quantity – but I feel like I need to know what we’re dealing with.
Dr. Y said that Dr. Middlesworth (the oncology surgeon who removed a tumor in Ana’s pelvis last year) agreed that surgery is a viable option for Ana, though there are risks inherent with abdominal surgery that no 14 year old girl should ever have to worry about. The tumors are close to her bowel and they’re not sure how close. If they operate on her bowel – or end up removing some bowel – she may need a colostomy. We had to tell her this yesterday. Ana, you need this surgery to live longer, but if you get it, then this may happen. It was absolutely my worst parenting moment ever, even compared to the time her hair fell out in chunks when I tried to brush it after a couple of weeks of chemotherapy.
Today Dr. Martinez (her hepatologist) called and confirmed that surgery was the best (and pretty much only) option to extend Ana’s life. She had consulted with Dr. Kato (the surgeon who did Ana’s liver transplant) this morning and I was very relieved to hear that he wants to remove as many tumors as possible. Dr. Kato is a genius. He has done some of the most difficult abdominal surgeries in the history of ever – including one where he transplanted about 6 or 7 organs in one child (who survived). I asked about the colostomy thing and Dr. M. said this is a possibility though they will try everything they can to avoid it. It’s also reversible (potentially) and something they may need to do while her bowel heals after surgery. Dr. M. also said that she’s worried that the tumors will eventually obstruct her bowel in which case she’d have to get emergency surgery and a colostomy anyway – so abdominal surgery is really the best option for Ana to avoid that potential complication (even though it may actually cause that complication).
Fucking irony, eh?
It may not be possible to get Ana on the surgery schedule with Dr. Kato next week. I think we’re looking at spending Christmas in the hospital. Ana’s okay with this, actually. She’s also okay with the surgery. Get it done, she said. Get the tumors out. My girl wants to live even with this potential horrible side effect. She’s my hero.
Each day I worry about Ana more and more and more, and there’s no relief for that worry because this isn’t going away. This isn’t getting easier. My heart is so heavy it literally hurts.
Several people have asked how they can help and if they can donate to Ana or our family. Her Paypal account is still active, and I created a link to it here: https://www.paypal.me/AnaDooley. So many of you have given already, so please don’t feel obligated to donate. Funds that go to Ana’s paypal account benefit Ana directly (through gifts, help with travel to and from the hospital and of course in granting wishes). Thank you, as always, for your kind words, prayers, gifts and well wishes.