We had an appointment with the oncologist today. Dr. Larry Mendohlsohn has been Carolyn’s doctor since 1992 when she first started battling Hodgkin’s. He is an incredible, wise, Christ-follower who just happens to be one of the leading oncologists in this field. We’re grateful to be under his care.

However, as we met with him today, we realized that we had not exactly understood the situation. To review:

  • A PET scan in early November revealed areas of activity, notably two areas in her groin, one in her breast, and today we found out that there was a small area on her spleen.
  • She had a needle biopsy done on one of the groin areas to determine if it was lymphoma or Hodgkin’s. This biopsy was messed up by the lab, so we were back at square one.
  • She had a lumpectomy to remove the tumor in her breast. It tested 70% noninvasive and 30% invasive. It was determined to be radiation-induced cancer, and we learned that she could not have anymore radiation since she’d reached her limit with her treatments in ’91-92.
  • The doctors recommended a mastectomy, and without rehashing our decision NOT to proceed that way, she had another procedure a week ago to remove more tissue in her breast AND remove lymph nodes in the area around that to test and see if the breast cancer had spread. 
  • In the meantime, she had another needle biopsy of the areas in her groin. These all came back negative. We took this for great news.
  • She’s been very sore from the breast and node removal surgery. They installed a drain port for the lymph incision which was pretty uncomfortable. But the results on the tests all came back good. No sign of breast cancer in the lymph nodes.

At this point, we were elated. Except for a hurried trip to Little Rock Saturday morning, her recovery has been pretty smooth. The Saturday trip was due to the drain port causing a contact allergy that was extremely painful. 

Which brings us back to today. 

In our consultation with Dr. Mendelsohn, he was still not convinced that the nodes in the groin area were not problematic. It’s just a risk that we can’t take, he advised, and therefore recommended the necessary abdominal surgery (the node is deep) to remove it and test. 

In addition, he said that since we can’t treat the breast area with radiation, and even though all tests have come back negative, due to her age and history, he wants to treat her with chemotherapy for the breast cancer. 

If the node removed from the surgery comes back positive, she will also need to receive chemo for that as well, but he believes that he might be able to combine chemo treatments and treat both at the same time.

So that’s where we are tonight. Not where we want to be. But we’re still kicking. And relying on prayers. Thank you all so much!

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