Final pathology is still not back but I want to post what we know at this time. Thanks for your patience as we have been trying to get the best information we can about what is going on with Zach. It was all pretty shocking to us last Friday as to “what does this mean, they found cancer?”
Final pathology could change everything I type below if it shows immature cells, which would indicate the cancer they found last week is new growth. Below is assuming final pathology shows mature cancer cells; which is the most likely of scenarios.
Here is the best information we have at this point. Zach has never been in remission. The cancer they found last week is still residual cancer from what was originally discovered in Zach back in June of ’09. I know this sounds crazy, believe me, it was very shocking to all of us. Basically this means Zach’s 42 weeks of treatment (chemo & radiation) did not get all the cancer. Good news, the Lord guided us to keep looking for cancer; even though we knew it was an aggressive decision since Zach’s scans have been showing clear for some time. Our doctor has explained its likely Zack’s cancer cells do not respond to the nuclear medicine used in PET Scans to light up active cancer cells and regular scans cannot show you what is happening on a cellular level inside the body; both are not 100% accurate. But as I said last week, they were able to remove the entire tumor during surgery last week and we HOPE all the cancer along with it! We cannot know for sure if they got all the cancer or not.
What now you ask? Our Dallas doctor helped us get four Sarcoma expert opinions from the best-known doctors/centers in the U.S. as to what we should do next. Although the opinions are not all conclusive, the majority suggests we should wait and see and keep aggressively looking for cancer. We have no way of knowing if there is one or one million cancer cells in Zach’s body. There is no blood test for Zach’s cancer. We must be able to see a visible tumor to treat him. Because there is no cancer we can see in Zach’s body right now, they do not feel we should treat with maintenance chemotherapy at this time or pursue aggressive chemotherapy which we will need to use if Zach has a true relapse. If we find cancer again going forward, it will be considered a relapse (we think!). We will have more scans in 4 weeks, the again in 6 weeks (instead of the normal 3 months). This is the course we are choosing at this time.
I personally have so much ambivalence about what happened last Friday when they found the cancer. We see the Sovereign hand of God directing us, helping guide our decisions against/amongst the plethora of information from the medical world that would suggest A) we should not take Zach’s tumor’s out & B) there is no cancer in there and Zach is in remission; and we just want to shout PRAISE THE LORD! He guided us to move forward with the biopsy and He already knew there was cancer in there and that we could easily remove Zach’s tumor, not affecting any of his organs! This part of our heart is still thrilled and excited that we found the cancer when we did! The other part of our heart’s is still sad we found cancer and we don’t have any way of knowing if we got all of it. This initially leads to fear about the unknown. This is where we just have to lay it all down at the feet of the cross and beg God to remind us daily about the Truth and to put our trust in Him. Truth and trust that He is in control, He loves Zach more than I or our family could ever dream of, He has an amazing plan for Zach’s life (no matter how short), one that we know is already being used for His Glory. This life is about giving God Glory and Praise His Name Zach’s life gives Him Glory. So today, we rest in that. We don’t know the future for Zach, but thankful because we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, we have the power to rest in God’s Peace and Truths.
As always, thanks for all your MANY prayers and concerns coming our way.
Julie & All the Cartwright/Inman Families
But now, thus says the Lord, your creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I have given Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in your place. Since you are precious in My sight, since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth, everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed even whom I have made" (NASB).