Friday, April 25, 2008

I just don't know...

Our family is faced with the toughest decision yet. The docs at Mayo and my radiation oncologists think that my best chances of survival are to do another surgery and remove everything - remaining part of tongue, voice box, epiglotis, etc. That would mean that I would not be able to talk, eat, or smell, and I would breathe out of a hole in my neck. The radiation oncologists at Mayo and UMN think that this cancer is radiation resistant because it didn't die with last year's radiation so they don't think radiation will work this year.

It is believed that a massive surgery would increase my chances of cure, but not by very much. We had asked Dr. Yueh to do whatever it took during my surgery in March to remove the cancer, even if I could never eat or talk again but he opted not to cut it all out at that time because seeing the aggressiveness if my tumor and how it was scattered rather than in a single mass, it was unlikely that removing everything would get it all anyways. Dr. Moore at the Mayo Clinic thinks there might be a slightly better chance of survival if I was willing to do the surgery. The only thing is that Dr. Moore at Mayo wasn't the one who operated on me, so he didn't see how the tumor was behaving firsthand. On the other hand Dr. Yueh was able to see exactly how the tumor was behaving and made a decision in the operating room based on his extensive experience.

So I have 3 options:
1) A second course of radiation and chemotherapy
2) A third surgery plus a second course of radiation and chemo
3) Seek alternative therapies such a immunotherapy, nutrition, etc.

At this time there is not enough evidence that shows that a major surgery will greatly increase my chances of survival. If it was clear that I would survive, or perhaps have a decent chance at survival, then I would definately do it. Otherwise, I'm not so sure it is worth it because of is would greatly affect the quality of life that I have left. Besides, after having 2 surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy, a third surgery could have life threatening complications.

Please pray for claritiy in this decision, and that God would heal me of this disease and allow me to be a husband to my wife and a father to my children for years to come.

I am going to start chemotherapy tomorrow anyways, and radiation starts next Monday. So I have until the end of this week to decide. I am trying to get an opinion from Sloan Kettering and MD Anderson, and asking more questions of Dr. Yueh and Dr. Moore this week. Pray that those meetings will bring clarity to the decision.


  1. Just wanted to let you know that we (Angie & I, FCBC-FV) continue to life you and your family up in prayer.

  2. Roxanne and I are in anguise over your decision. We really feel you pain, sort of. You are in a tough position. We will continue to pray for you and your lovely bride as the decisions contineuly mount up for you both. We will however keep on praying for your healing because Rox and I know the God is the Ultimate Healer and Pysician.

    Erik and Roxanne Greene

  3. Andrew, We love you and have been praying for you, Grace & the kids. As well, we have our church praying much for you. Thanks for your steadfastness of faith during such a difficult trial. Much love, Rick & Julie

  4. Wow - I can't imagine how tough a decision this would be to make! I will continue to pray for clarity and most of all - healing!

  5. I am praying for you today. Please find some encouragement in these lyrics:

    Your Blood has washed away my sins
    Jesus Thank You
    The Wrath of God completely satisfied
    Jesus Thank You
    Once Your enemy
    Now seated at Your table
    Jesus Thank You

    Lover of my soul
    I want to live for You
    Lover of my soul
    I want to live for You

    Just as the Father has provided the righteousness of Christ, may He provide joy and peace to endure this trial, as well as wisdom to make the best decision available!

  6. Dear Andrew and Grace,
    I am in humbled by your response to "Life Isn't Fair". What a precious family you are! Please know that Fred and I are praying for you in this huge decision. What a testimony you are to trusting His loving heart.
    In Christ,
    Terri (and Fred)

  7. Dear Andrew and Grace,
    I am in tears......humbled by your response to "Life Isn't Fair". What a precious family you are! Please know that you are in our prayers as to this HUGE decision. What a testimony you are to trusting His plan and His heart.
    In Christ,
    Terri and Fred

  8. Andrew & family,

    I was made aware of your situation through Rick Horio's website, and am praying for your difficult decision, and for God's ongoing mercy and grace in and through it.

    I, myself, have undergone surgery for brain cancer and am experiencing a period of stabilization at present (3 years now) with the help of immunotherapies.

    I know you both to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, and are experiencing this to His honor, and that it is a real stretching time for your faith.

    That we know our lives are in His hands for the result, doesn't mean the outcome is any more certain or easy (though the ultimate outcome for us in Christ is the glory of heaven)

    I don't know if you've made your final decision yet for which route to take, but I want to put in a plug for the immunotherapy route(at least in conjuction with any further conventional treatments).

    Whatever route God leads you to go, you must do all you can to build up your immune system at the same time(as chemo,radiation, and even surgery only further lower it) which is God's designed means of the body to fight cancer, or any other disease.

    It only stands to reason as no one ever died from a chemo or radiation deficiency, but certainly have from disease as result of a weakened immune system.

    I know you know this, but continue to keep God's faithful goodness before you in the midst of this ongoing trial, knowing that He desires only your good and His glory through it. Lean upon Him wholly, and you will find Him wholly true.

    'Consider it all you, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him' (Jm. 1:2-5).

    'Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone' (Jm. 1:13)

    'Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen' (1 Pe. 5:8-11)