I didn't even know that there was any such person as a Radiation Oncologist, but that is who we went to visit today. We met an amazing lady who is just so nice and easy to talk to. When Morgan feels comfortable and trusts the doctor, that makes all of the procedures that much easier to cope with. She told us that she has a daughter who is 16 and that our surgeon, Dr. Neumayer and breast oncologist, Dr. Beck, do also. I have asked each one of them what they would do if it were their daughter because I have discovered that it would be MUCH easier to be doing this if it were my disease, but making decisions and watching my baby go through it is much more difficult. She agreed and said that we had created a perfect medical team (accidentally) who would be making decisions and working just as if Morgan were their own daughter. She also let us know that Morgan is very popular in their world and it was nice to finally put a face to the name. Medical Specialists are discussing her case and speculating on how to best treat her cancer.....she told us that she often wakes up at 3 in the morning and thinks about Morgan's case and what is the best thing to do.
Dr. Avizonis told us about some different radiation options and informed us about how it all works. She explained that radiation is just like laying in a tanning bed for 15 minutes a day. They direct the radiation beams to hit the spots they want to kill without having the beam go through another area they don't (like her lungs). After 30 sessions (M-F for 6 weeks) Morgan will be finished and have a bit of a sunburn on her chest.
As soon as Morgan is finished with her chemotherapy on December 21st, she will have another PET scan done to see if the chemotherapy killed everything it needed to. We went the chemo route first because it is systemic which means that it flows through her blood into every part of her body and kills anything which is dividing and growing at a fast rate (which is why you lose your hair). Hopefully it did its job and killed any random cancer cells which may have escaped from the original tumor. We already know it made its way into two of her nodes because of the way they lit up on the PET scan. We are REALLY hoping that it did its job and that there are no random cells growing themselves into another tumor somewhere else in her body. That would definitely be a VERY bad thing.....Metastatic Breast Cancer (at this time) has no cure.
The radiation is a more specific type of localized treatment and is particularly important to reach the lymph nodes in the center of Morgan's chest behind her breast bone. It is so difficult to get to them, it is a much better solution just hit them with a ton of radiation and kill them. They won't physically be removed...ever (so no big scars or saws will be needed).
All of this information is going in our brains to be processed along with all of the surgical options we discussed last week. On Tuesday we have another appointment with the Plastic Surgeon to pick up a little more. When we put all of it together, hopefully we can make an informed decision on which surgery to do in January......Lumpectomy or Bi-lateral Mastectomy....hmmmmmm?!?!?!?!? Trust me, there are several pros and cons for each.
Thanks again for the continued love and support. We are being fed very well by women in the ward and members of Boyd's family. Members of mine and Johnny's families are driving down to help out with the medical visits and running the house. Our next door neighbor brought over two tickets to the Jazz Game for me and Morgan to go to next week!!!!
I would love to tell you exactly what the treatment plan is, but there are so many variables to Morgan's case that just don't fit anyone else around. Each aspect of this has been seen before....just not all in the same person....and just not in someone who is 16!!!!
Still trying to figure out some fundraising options, how to get Morgan's story out to those who can bring the right kind of attention to it...any suggestions or help with personal connections would be very much appreciated!!!