Travis underwent a endoscopy and colonoscopy yesterday morning. Talk about kicking a guy when he is down. It was assumed nothing would be found but there was so much hope in that something would be found. When this journey started the Roberts said “anything but colon cancer…colon cancer is a death sentence.” Now they are praying for colon cancer. Irony at its finest. You see, when they said “anything but colon cancer” they didn’t know about Cholangiocarcinoma which is one of the last remaining possibilities. I mean…have you ever heard of it? It is one of the rarest cancers. One people out of 150,000 cancer diagnoses will have Cholangiocarcinoma. One. Because it is so rare there are very few treatment options available and the ones that are available…the cancer usually resists. Or maybe Adenocarsinoma of an Unknown Primary. In layman’s terms that means “we don’t really know where it is coming from so we have to blast you with everything. All chemos. And hope for the best.” So a doctor coming out saying “we found the remnants of a tumor in the colon. Esophagus. Intestines.” ANYWHERE ELSE…would be indescribably amazing.
But that isn’t what the doctor said. The doctor said “we found nothing”. A clean colonoscopy and endoscopy. What is this crazy world we have entered where up is down and down is up? Where the news of NOT finding cancer in the colon, rectum, intestines, esophagus, etc. is BAD news? Nothing makes sense anymore.
Confused? So are Carrie and Travis. But just Google the statistics on Cholangiocarcinoma. Or Cancer of an Unknown Primary. Or the survival rates. It won’t take long to learn why the Roberts would pray for colon cancer. But. Our hope is not in Google.
The narrowing down began on Friday…
Travis had his PET scan on Friday and the doctor called with the results at 4:30. Depending on who you ask you will get a different answer. Some of us think it was awesome. It showed cancer in the liver and in the lymph nodes of the abdomen wall, as they expected. It also showed a small amount of cancer in the lymph nodes in his pelvis and collar bone. Doctor Hamrick was not surprised by these finding a and was quick to say a VERY small amount. All of his organs look clean. Bones…clean. Pancreas, colon, intestines, stomach…clean, clean, clean and clean. Amazing.
But, understandably, Travis was upset by the news, and didn’t find it so awesome. What he heard, and what resonated through his mind was, it spread to other lymph nodes. Again, the doctors were not surprised or even upset by this finding. But to the individual walking around with this disease it was pretty devastating. It makes it real. Somehow even more real than it already was. Now it is this living thing. Growing inside of him. Traveling in his body. What gives it the right!?!?!? WHO INVITED THESE MUTATED CELLS ANYWAY. I can understand being discouraged that this uninvited, unwelcomed guest has taken up shop in another part of your body. It’s scary. But our hope is not in the absence or spreading of these mutated cells.
Dr. Hamrick had additional news to share as well. He presented to the surgical team at Piedmont Hospital and they are willing to meet with Carrie and Travis this week. While Dr. Hamrick says Travis is absolutely not a candidate, at this time, for removing the cancer from his liver surgically he does think he would be a candidate for having Y-90, a surgical treatment that allows them to blast the heck out of the tumors directly with radiation. But our hope is not in the Y-90 treatment.
Dr. Hamrick also said that he found a medical trial going on, right now, at Emory for Cholangiocarcinoma but, at the time, he wasn’t sure if Travis would be a candidate. However, he called Sunday afternoon (yes, Sunday afternoon…now how’s that for a doctor working to save your life!) and said he found out Travis would be a candidate for the trial. They should be meeting with the doctor at Emory this week to discuss the clinical trial. But our hope is not in a clinical trial.
Additionally, the Roberts will be traveling to MD Anderson to get a second opinion. When you are fighting something like this you need the best. MD Anderson is the best. Perhaps “The Best” can give them a definite diagnosis. A definite treatment plan. What will they recommend? Will it align with the recommendations of Dr. Hamrick? The Piedmont Hospital surgeons? The clinical trial at Emory? But our hope is not in the recommendations and opinions of doctors.
Once they get all of the results back, have their meeting with the surgeons, and their second opinion from MD Anderson, it will be time to make decisions. Lots and lots of decisions. Decisions that seem like life or death. But our hope is not in the ability to make the “right” decision.
Travis is not an indecisive person. Anyone who knows him can testify to that. Indifferent at times maybe…but not indecisive. You can’t be indecisive when you are the president of one of the largest concrete companies in the Southeast. But Travis has never had to make decisions regarding his life. Now it gets tricky. Or so it seems.
Travis’ hope. The Roberts’ hope. OUR hope is in the Author of life. The One who does not look at statistics. The One who does not look to doctors. The One who does not Google.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in You. - Psalms 39:7