Saturday, September 18, 2010

Huntsman Cancer Institute

Monday and Tuesday were good days. Morgan went to school and lasted throughout the entire day! Wednesday she woke up a little tired and a bit nauseous so she stayed home. Jamie, Morgan and I met Johnny and Crystal up at Huntsman Cancer Institute around 3:30. We were to meet with Amanda Knoth, a genetic counselor. She explained that since Morgan has experienced two different cancers in her short life, that there most likely is some sort of genetic component to it. A couple of weeks ago her BRCA test was negative. The BRCA is a chromosome which is directly linked to inherited breast cancer. Obviously I was a little bit confused at why they were working on something that was already considered a non-issue.....obviously, I have learned a lot about cancer during the last month, but there is still so much more to learn!

There is a specific test that Huntsman is interested in for Morgan. I am not going to include the name of it here but as we have learned, each of us all have cancer cells in our body. We also have a protein/amino acid which fights off any cells that are threatening to grow into a tumor, which works a lot like white blood cells fighting infections and building up our immunities. This is why many people never get cancer in their lifetime. The test is to see if that particular gene in Morgan has some sort of mutation which will make her more susceptible to other cancers as well. The good news about this is that if she is positive for the mutation, she will have a very thorough screening process to catch any type of cell growth early enough to take care of it without having to go through chemo or radiation.

We met with a pediatric oncologist, Dr. Schiffman, and a breast oncologist, Dr. Buys who have already been meeting and discussing Morgan's case. After about three hours of questions and further discussion, we were told that Morgan's case would be the topic of discussion the next morning at their staff meeting. They took some blood and will let us know the answer within 2 - 3 weeks. So now we wait. They are fairly certain that this will be positive, but if not, there are other tests lining up as possible, but less likely, options. When we find out what she has, then they will test me as well and go from there.

The reason that this test is so important is that it may change the course of treatment Morgan has for her breast cancer. If this test is positive and she does have this particular Syndrome, we may not do the radiation after the chemo rounds are finished. The doctors suggested we talk to our oncologist about doing a needle biopsy (this week, in fact) to see if her two internal mammary nodes actually have cancer in them or if they showed up on the PET scan due to inflammation from her surgery. This would be important in deciding about the radiation treatment as well. Radiation is something we want to avoid if she has this mutation and would not be necessary if there is not cancer in the nodes. If there is, then we need to weigh the options and do what is best for her. Either way, there will be at least one more major surgery in Jan/Feb and a full-body MRI every six months or so for many years to come.

Every day it feels like there is so much more to take in, process, and is quite stressful and somewhat confusing. I have actually been to five different doctors this week M-F and filled at least nine different prescriptions as well! Whew!!!

Morgan stayed home Thursday also, but we went into Riverton High to meet with her counselor and fill out the paperwork which will allow her to do Home & Hospital. This way she can stay enrolled in her classes, attend when she feels like she is up to it, but when she is absent, the absences won't count against her!!! We decided that was the best option since she does her best when she is around her friends. It perks up her attitude and it is great to see her smile. We got to see a sign put up in the commons that says...Prayers for Morgan Watson Stage II Breast Cancer.

Friday she went to school and during the first class of the day, was surprised by the entire football team and the head coach. They came into her class and Coach Miller talked about special students they like to honor each game day. The coach looked right at her and invited her up front to stand by him. He told the class about how her older brother had played for him a couple of years ago and that he had taught with me. The entire team sang to her the school "Fight Song". Morgan said that both she and the coach were crying. This is the text she sent me..."Oh my gosh :) :) it was so freakin cool! In my first period, the football team came in and sang the school fight song for me in support of everything :) :) i cried."

She must still be feeling pretty good since she decided to spend the night at a friend's house. Next Saturday is her big Homecoming Dance and she is really hoping that her hair is able to attend the dance with her. :) but it may not make it...

As always, we all appreciate your love, prayers and support. Sorry for all the kids getting detention and sent to the Principal's office on behalf of the "I love boobies" bracelets...just turn 'em inside out!

This experience has been extremely humbling for all of us. It is so difficult to go through even though so many people have offered to help and prepare me for what we are doing. I told my own doctor today that if we weren't receiving all of these prayers and having our names place on many different temple prayer rolls, I am not sure we would make it through some of these crazy days and nights. Thanks again for all you do for us!!!

P.S. Morgan has a really cute new t-shirt that is hot pink with two baseballs strategically placed on the front and it reads below: Save Second Base!!! (she won't be wearing it to school, I am sure!) website is:


  1. Woow:) that is so cool about the poster in the commons and the football team and all the support! I Love you guys so much and if you need anything just let me know...i know i cant do much but...i'll try!

  2. Sounds like you had a pretty crazy week ,and have lots more to learn. Awesome about the football team, I love your new t-shirt soooo cute. Hope things go well this week :)