Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Deb Gets Biopsy Wednesday


I'm writing to share with you a little information and a lot of uncertainty.

Deb is having a biopsy on her liver on Wednesday morning at the Beth Israel Deaconess hospital in Boston. It's an outpatient procedure and we expect to be home Wednesday night. The results won't be known for several days, probably not until after the weekend.

This is happening because she had her regularly scheduled CT scan last Tuesday. All along, there have been small lesions in her liver, which the doctors did not regard as unusual. I have imagined them as the internal-organ equivalent of pimples or warts -- blemishes most people have and don't worry about. In this scan, one of them was suddenly three times larger than it had been six months before. That's what they want to grab a piece of and analyze.

It's done by sticking a needle into her liver, guided by ultrasound imaging.

The results of this could be anything. There are some harmless explanations. Or it could be a recurrence of the breast cancer she had in 1996 or the GIST cancer she had in 2003. (The GIST was peeled away from the outside of the liver, and that was where we were most worried about recurrences then.) It could even be something new -- a person who has had two completely independent cancers can't be all that surprised to see a third.

We are trying to maintain a general awareness of the gravity of the situation while not focusing on the specific scenarios. We'll know a lot more in a week or so, and we'll make a more detailed plan then.

If not for the CT scan, we would have no reason to think anything is wrong. She has no worrisome symptoms and her general energy and mood has been slightly better than usual lately.

When we know something more definite, I'll pass it on as quickly as I can.

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