Friday, April 10, 2009

Miracles DO Happen!!!

Fabulous Village are never going to believe this story. Hang on to your pants!!  

Yesterday we got a call from our friend Amanda, a doctor (hospitalist) back in Mass. Like Vic, we have been updating them to get their opinions on these medical moves because wandering through this is truly like walking through a cancer mine-field. I think you can get the picture. 

She has been doing a ton of research on this unique beast that Brenda has and has reached out to her medical friends to weigh in on the case. Everyone agreed this was sooooooooo very rare that not many doctors have seen or dealt with this animal. Remember the word "tenacious."

 Amanda's best friend is an oncologist who gave her opinion. Amanda also consulted with one of her mentors, Dr. Hedzel, who said that Brenda needed to go to the University of Texas M D Anderson Medical Cancer Center and see a world- famous oncologist by the name of Dr. Wuan Ki Hong, who had dealt with this type of tumor in the head and neck. Man!!! Were we hopeful. We had to go see Dr. Kato (the oncologist here) anyway so we gave him the good news in hopes of him reaching out to Dr. Hong for advice. 

So here's the damn roller-coaster ride...Dr. Kato said he knew of Dr. Hong and that he didn't deal with this type of tumor. Down in the dumps we went! I called Amanda and told her what he said and that it looked like Brenda had to undergo this very serious neck surgery on Tuesday. To say I wasn't too thrilled with Dr. Kato's attitude is a gross understatement. GRRRRRRRRR!

Brenda and I spent a miserable night crying, not sleeping, and trying to resign ourselves to this next step. Little did we know that Amanda was still being a little pit bull and wasn't going to let this go. She just didn't feel right about the next steps without a second opinion for someone with experience. She called her buddy Dr. Hedzel again who PERSONALLY called and spoke with Dr. Hong. Dr. Hong said in fact he HAS treated this type of rare cancer and he wanted to see Brenda as soon as we could get to Houston. Did I just hear that right??? We now had a world famous oncologist, at a world famous cancer center, that was going to open his schedule to see Brenda. This was a miracle!!! We heard all this from Amanda around 11:00 this morning and we didn't stop running around until 8:00 tonight. 

We immediately called Dr. Hong's secretary, who knew of Brenda, and was expecting our call...amazing! We had an appointment at 2:00 pm on Monday. Double amazing!!! Both Amanda and Mary, the secretary, told us what paperwork and labs to get. Remember, it was Friday afternoon...what are the chances that we could get...all the scans on film, lab reports, medical records from the last 2 years, and most importantly...actual tumor tissue samples to take with us? I don't know about you, but folks vanished on Friday afternoon when I was working. And how many times have you ever run into some desk jockey that just wasn't going to be TENACIOUS and help get the dang stuff you so desperately needed. Well...the miracles continued to happen...we got EVERYTHING we needed and folks were wonderful!!! Absolutely wonderful. We bought and delivered cookies to all those great folks that helped us pull this together. 

Hey!! I'm not done with the miracle of today. Not only did Amanda's tenacity help us get this potentially life-saving appointment, she offered to fly to Houston from Mass and help us through this maze of specialists, tests, consults, and results. Don't ever doubt that there are angels among us. Of course we jumped at the opportunity to have her help us. 

Do you know what a miracle all this is? All we can say one tenacious...go the extra mile...and have HOPE!!!


  1. I am a firm believer in miracles. You meet someone on a vacation a couple years ago who knows someone who knows someone that gets you in the next office day with a "world renowned" specialist for a cancer hardly anyone has ever heard of, let alone treated. WOW! I am so happy for this piece of good news. Not only did you get everything arranged on a Friday did it on Good Friday. Many doctors offices were closed. I was on call for at least five doctors yesterday, if that gives you any idea. As a medical person I am amazed that you pulled this off so quickly (gathering the records and x-rays etc. from all over town). I can't even believe that you actually have samples of the tumor to carry with you to Houston. Finally some really good news to hang on to. I have such a good feeling about all this. The more doctors you talk to the more you'll hear about gut feelings. Sometimes I'll see a patient and tell my nurse I have a bad feeling about them and we just cringe. Before I had my tumor out I asked my surgeon what his gut feeling was and he said he thought it would be, "not too awful bad." My gut tells me this is going to turn out okay. It's the first time I've felt this way since I found out about the lymph nodes in your neck. Keep praying....keep believing....and keep working toward recovery. Love you both..


  2. Hey... Hey... Hey... those Healing Angels are working double time for our girl Brenda! Keep up the good fight! And may the angels be with you all the way!!!
    Love & Blessings to you both, Cathie & Evelyn

  3. Wow, this is great news. All the research seems to be generated by specialists at MD Anderson so this is very good indeed.
    Amanda we love you even beyond your mimos :)To make this happen and than to make it happen so quickly is nothing short of amazing.
    We were thinking about all of the "angels" and how our paths have crossed over the years. There is a concept called the 'Human Web', more popularly known as the 'six degrees of separation'. Essentially the concept holds that everyone, on average is six steps away from knowing everyone on earth. Our group beats the average. Through our Olivia travels, we are one step away from such an amazing group of people - true angles. How lucky are we!!
    Brenda and Dee, we are sending you all our luck and good karma for some positive news in Texas. MD Anderson's Mission Statement is simple - "to eliminate Cancer". Let's all put on our rally caps and help Brenda help MD Anderson achieve that Goal.
    Oh, and don't forget the genuflect in front of the statue of George Bush Senior at the Houston airport.
    Love you guys
    Michele and Karen

  4. One more thing - let me know how you get those tumor samples past the TSA Security at the airport :)

  5. That is so amazing Dee and Brenda. Safe travels and sending you all of our powerful karma. we are thinking of you and thanks for keeping us up to date. Talk soon, Jodie and Donna

  6. I hold on to the perfect picture that we talked about every time I looked at you from across the room just a week ago. My prayers remain flowing as the day goes on and can't wait to hear how "Houston Mission Cure" blasts off!!!! I can only smile when I think of us together and can't wait for the next adventure. Amanda you are another angel who has touched our hearts and we are so grateful for that gift. In Trust of a are loved.

  7. Wow - just catching up having been in Europe on our trip and no real access to Internet, and I am sitting here totally amazed by the angels flying around in Brenda and Dee's life! Fantastic! xoxoxo, Jill

  8. I recently heard about this wonderful blog I hope that the doctors are easing this work to be well and my prayers are with you.

    I am so thrilled that the Olivia family is such an amazing gift to so many of us. I hope that during this time we can all continue to offer our support.

    Much love,

    Judy Dlugacz