Yesterday's appointments to Georgetown were very reassuring! Matt saw many different people, and his spirits were high. Mainly because we stopped off at the Italian Store for hoagies and rations before we went. (Last all day visit, we had no food. And if you know us... Hungry and stressed is not a good combination!)
Here are the highlights:
1. First visit was with Dr. Alexander Kim. He is a vascular and interventional radiologist and his nurse practitioner Michelle Jones. He will be the doctor administering Whitey with his chemo this Friday, May 15 at 8:00am.
2. The procedure is called Chemo embolization, or TACE. Dr. Kim will go in through an artery in Matt's groin, cut off the blood supply to the blood vessel that feeds into the tumor in his liver. They will then inject it with a high dose of localized chemo. This will hopefully stop the growth of the tumor. He will be awake during this procedure, but sedated.
3. Why would they do this TACE procedure rather than just remove the tumor? First, the cirrhosis is not reversible, so Whitey needs a new liver. TACE is preferable for the following reasons:
• if there are too many tumors (greater than or equal to 3) OR if he tumor is too big, Matt will be taken off the donor list.
• if they remove the tumor, Whitey will be taken off the list.
• in a nutshell, they want there to be tumors, (but not many and small ones) to get a transplant.
4. Good news: the chemo is called doxorubicin, and hopefully will only be done once. Fingers crossed. Side effects include fever, nausea, stomach pain. Most patients are asymptomatic.
5. Whitey will be there overnight. The procedure will take 2 hours. And he will be laid down flat for 4 hours. He will be released around midday the next day. I will be with him to keep him company and make sure everything is ok. Myrna will be here Thursday night to Friday afternoon. Linda and Mo will be here Friday afternoon and stay to Saturday to watch the kids (thank you guys so much!!!).
6. They did a chest CT to make sure no cancer had spread to his lungs. Results not in yet. If all clear, one step closer to transplant.
7. They did an echocardiogram with bubble study. This ensures that his heart is healthy enough for transplant. The bubble study was cool. They agitated saline between 2 vials. Then they injected through the IV, and we were able to see that the bubbles in the saline only went through one half of his heart, while doing the echocardiogram. (This is a good thing). They also did an EKG.
Today we wait. Again. And wait for the results. Side note? Matt is really being so positive. It cannot be easy for him to be poked and prodded, etc. But, he still manages to be kind, polite, and make the people laugh. Love him.
Love you guys!