In an earlier blog, I wrote about my son-in-law Ray's diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma, or cancer of the bile duct. The cure was surgery to remove the bile duct, and he was scheduled for the surgery on Monday of this week (February 24). However, when the surgeon began to operate, he discovered that the pancreas was not in good enough shape for the surgery to be completed as it was too high risk. So the decision was made to have him undergo chemotherapy for several months and hope that he would then be healthy enough for the surgery in 4-6 months.
All our family was deeply disappointed, since I think we thought that he would have the surgery, recover, and life would return to normal. But it now looks like a much longer and more arduous process. One of my other sons-in-law has been doing a great deal of research into this cancer and he recently found out that now the chemotherapy before surgery is becoming the preferred protocol, particularly in the older patients (70 and up) who are normally the ones who are afflicted with this disease.
Catherine was the one who had to tell Ray when he came out of the anesthesia that he still had the cancer and what the treatment would be, and he had a day when he was rather discouraged. Today he went home from the hospital, he has a referral to an oncologist, and they seem to be taking one day at a time.
I spoke to a friend who called today about a cancer prayer group that she hosts at her house once a month. She was diagnosed with cancer when Catherine and her daughter were in grade school, and all these years later she is doing well and coordinating prayer groups at her home and church. She is a good reminder to me that health and concern for others and a full life are very often possible after a cancer diagnosis.