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 is...believe....love one another...be tenacious...go the extra mile...and have HOPE!!!