Update on My Sister-in-Law

This is a difficult post to write. But I have been asking for your prayers and I have been trying to keep you updated. And my sister-in-law has given me her blessing to keep you updated on my blog.

Back in August, I wrote this to her about my blog in an email:

"If I ever say anything that makes you uncomfortable, will you please tell me? I sure wouldn't ever want to violate your privacy. I tend to be extremely open."

And she responded:

"Anything you say in your blog is going to be fine with me.  I trust your intelligence, tact and talent.  You can even 'rough me up' a little if you want."

I wasn't sure what she meant by that last sentence. But that's Lillian. She is a colorful person who often uses her Howerton humor to deal with her circumstances.

As I mentioned in an earlier update, Lillian had scans yesterday and a biopsy today at Vanderbilt. We were hoping for better news than we received. The malignant tumor (returning cancer) that began in her lower jaw has spread all the way up to her ear already. Her tongue is involved. And I'm not absolutely certain if it's all the same tumor, but she also has cancer growing on the outside of her lower jaw.

The surgeon told them that he would not recommend more surgery. The surgery he would have to do in order to remove all the cancer would remove too much of her facial structure. She would need extensive reconstruction, bone grafts, skin grafts, etc. And she is already very weakened by previous surgery and treatment, as well as the cancer. He said cutting on her again would rob her of any quality of life. He recommends more treatment to hopefully shrink the tumor as much as possible. He is going to consult with her oncologist in Evansville on treatment and she will be able to receive it there without having to travel back and forth to Nashville.

I'm hoping they will be coming to spend some time with us when they leave Vandy tomorrow.

Your prayers for Lillian and our family are greatly appreciated. Lillian will be 59 in November. The above picture was taken the day John and I were married (January 4, 2004). She's my Sis as much as she is John's.

When I called John today to tell him the report, I told him I couldn't imagine what his mom must be feeling as a parent. And then I quickly added, "But I know you can."

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