Well, we met with the oncologist today. Dr. Pierce was great! After filling out piles and piles of paperwork we spent about 10 minutes with him while he explained to us that Matt would need a surgeon and a good one at that! He ordered his nurse to call Dr. Craig Nichols (Lance Armstrong's doctor) and he spoke with Craig for a few minutes before asking us if we preferred to travel to Seattle for the surgery or Southern California. I said Seattle and Matt said Southern California... I won. I reminded Matt that this wasn't a "vacation" and he agreed. Seattle is much more practical (and affordable) and that is important!
Dr. Nichols suggested the two best "urological oncologists" in the nation and said that he would take care of making sure that Matt had a specific referral to one of these two men so that Providence will pay the medical bills. Dr. Nichols is the head of all Providence and he can refer patients outside of Providence if he does not think the job can be done by someone within the network.
We are confident that Matt will be in good hands. Dr. Porter will be performing Matt's surgery at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. Dr. Pierce thought that the surgery would be scheduled in the next few weeks. If we don't hear anything from Dr. Porter's office by Friday, we will follow up!
Thankfully we have family in Seattle so we're hoping that my mom can come up with us so that we can bring Madi along as well. We really don't want to be gone from her for that long and quite frankly we have NO idea how long the whole ordeal will last. Hopefully these questions can be answered at our pre-op appointment with Dr. Porter. Matt mentioned that he thought we would be coming home the day after surgery and I informed him that I would be surprised if he is eating solid foods four days after the surgery, let alone being released and sent home! =) Again, we really don't know much, but here's a picture of the hospital!
Dr. Pierce confirmed that this is a VERY rare "disease". He said that he sees one of these cases every few years, if even that. He sounded very confident that it can be taken care of, but did mention that there is no way to confirm the tumor is completely benign until it is removed and studied. He also said that the tumor will have to be sent away to biologists to be studied because they don't have a lot of information on them. The main concern is getting ALL of the tumor out at once. Dr. Pierce mentioned that surgeries are sort of "one shot" situations and this is why he wanted to find a very experienced surgeon who is used to working around major organs, etc. (Matt's CAT Scan mentions that the tumor is displacing his artery and extending into the pelvic region, etc... it's pretty much EVERYWHERE.)
Some major prayer requests:
- the tumor is completely benign
- the tumor can be completely removed in ONE surgery
- Providence will pay the medical bills without difficulty
- quick and easy recovery
We have both learned SO much through this experience and we are thankful for life's lessons. Matt and I had a conversation today about how this really isn't our life and we certainly don't deserve problem free/pain free lives. We are ever so thankful for our health and the many other blessings that we have been given. Oh how we pray that we never take them for granted nor forget to give praise to the one who gives us everything! We will take this trial head on, but only because we are confident that our Heavenly Father is the real one dictating it all! Oh what this life would be like without hope...
Thank you for all of your prayers! We have TRULY felt them over the last few weeks. I would like to leave you with one more thing. On Friday when we were at the hospital (just the two of us) waiting for Matt to be taken in for his biopsy, we were overwhelmed with fear... I had grabbed a small devotional that we have been reading with our small group on the way out the door and this was the day's reading:
If you learn to trust me - really trust me - with your whole being, then nothing can separate you from My Peace. Everything you endure can be put to good use by allowing it to train you in trusting Me. This is how you foil the works of evil, growing in grace through the very adversity that was meant to harm you. Joseph was a prime example of this divine reversal, declaring to his brothers: "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good."
Do not fear what this day, or any day, may bring your way. Concentrate on trusting Me and on doing what needs to be done. Relax in My sovereignty, remembering that I go before you, as well as with you, into each day. Fear no evil, for I can bring good out of every situation you will ever encounter.
John 16:33 - These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.
Thank you for your prayers! God is GOOD!