First let me just give you this quick update as to why Hazel's surgery has been postponed. She is feeling great and is completely fine, so please don not be worried! There was just a small scheduling conflict and because Hazel's surgery will be fairly long, the moved hers to 11:00 AM on Wednesday, August 21st.
We met with the surgeon on Monday and had about an hour and forty-five minute conversation. It was the conversation that I expected, but, quite honestly, it was still pretty overwhelming. As the CT scan showed, Hazel's tumor has shrunk more than 50% but is still wrapped completely around the major blood vessel connected to her right kidney. He said that blood vessels are extremely tricky to work with because, unlike arteries, they do not squirt blood, but they pool it; which makes it very difficult to find the source of the bleeding and resulting in a lot of blood loss. Because of this, he is not 100% sure that he will be able to get all of the tumor and a number of different things can happen during the surgery. The best scenario is that he gets in there and it ends up being simpler than the scan shows and he gets all of the tumor. The next scenario is that he is able to get all of the tumor, but must sacrifice her kidney (this is a scenario that he will avoid at all costs, but is nevertheless a possibility). The last scenario is that he saves her kidney but is not able to remove all of the tumor. So her surgery will be long, complicated and risky. All in all, it will take somewhere between 6-8 hours of slowly chiseling away at that awful tumor inside my daughter's body. The good news is that he showed us her original scans next to her newest ones and we were absolutely stunned with how much it shrunk and were so relieved to see such a great response! Our oncologist is confident that if the surgeon has to leave a small bit of tumor left inside her, that the subsequent treatments will be effective in eradicating it.
Another hopeful aspect is that we have complete confidence in our surgeon, Dr. Bliss. He is an absolutely wonderful man and truly cares about our little Hazelnut. He also informed us that he has had five other surgeries that were very similar to Hazel's case, and as a comparison in regards to how compacted her surgery is to the others, he said hers was somewhere in the middle. Out of those 5 surgeries, he has only had to remove one kidney (and that young girl is about 18 years old and disease free now!). The other four, even though fairly complicated, he was able to remove 100% of the tumor! Ultimately however, we know that our God is the ultimate Healer and has our daughter in the palm of His hand. I take refuge in his promises:
- Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
- Job 12:10 "In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind."
- Mark 5:34 "And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
- Isaiah 43:2 "When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up- The flames will not consume you."
Please keep us in mind over this next week as we feel anxious for her upcoming surgery, and of course pray like crazy on the actual day! As soon as we get any updates, I will be posting them on the blog, so keep an eye out. Thank you all so much for your support, it truly means the world to us!