After a fibrosarcoma
was incompletely removed from just above Tom's left eye, we sought
treatment at the Mayo
Clinic, Rochester, MN. Here, Tom received a CAT scan of his
torso and head, and an MRI of his head. We then met with Dr.
The CAT scan
showed no indication that the tumor had metastasized to Tom's
lungs or abdomen (the usual places sarcomas spread.) The MRI gave
no clear evidence that the tumor had been entirely removed.
informed us that Tom was the 10th person in ten
years to be diagnosed with this type of cancer in this location.
Fibrosarcomas are aggressive and do not respond well to chemotherapy
or radiation therapy. Dr. Garrity recommended that all soft tissue
in Tom's left orbital area be removed. I cried when I heard the
news. I had tried so hard to keep this from happening and felt
as though I had failed. Dr. Garrity's nurse was most supportive
during this time, for which we will always be grateful.
We were then
given an option that would not have been possible had the local
ophthalmologist performed the surgery. Tom would undergo three
operations that would eventually allow him to be fitted with a
prosthesis instead of being left with a large gaping hole in the
left side of his face. Further, Tom's cornea could be donated
because there is no blood exchange to the cornea. These were two
rays of light in the darkness.
At the time
of Tom's original diagnosis, we had requested that tissue samples
be sent to Dr. Evans at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer
Center for a second opinion, but we didn't allow much time for
him to complete his testing. Just prior to Tom's first surgery
at Mayo, we received the news that the second opinion concurred
with the original diagnosis.
surgeries were over, Tom would be closely monitored, but would
not receive any other form of treatment.