Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Biopsy tomorrow

The MRI today showed that the lesion has grown about 2 mm since the last MRI from Dec. 22. Because the lesion has grown (and because of Steve's worsening vision), Dr. L suggested a biopsy for tomorrow.

We had planned to fly home this afternoon and return, if necessary, next week. Instead, Steve stayed at M.D. Anderson for lab work and an appointment with the anesthesiology department. Jim was with us, so he stayed with Steve, made sure they were in the right place at the right time, took notes, etc. I took a cab to the airport, changed my flight to the next one available and flew home.

I'm home with Cooper and Katie now. I'll get them ready for bed, pack for the next few days and drive to Houston tonight with Liz's help. Ami is driving back from Austin tonight to take over here again.

Steve will check in for surgery by 5:30 a.m. tomorrow. He will be sedated and fit with a halo that will keep his head stable. They'll give him more anesthesia, tighten the halo some more and send him for an MRI. The MRI will provide precise X- and Y-coordinates of the lesion. Those coordinates will be used to guide the wire and needle that will extract a tissue sample of the lesion.

A pathologist will be available to provide a quick reading of the tissue. Exact pathology results should be ready by next Friday, when we'll return for a follow-up appointment, including suture removal.

Tomorrow's procedure should be complete by noon or 1 p.m. Steve will be admitted to ICU and spend the night for observation. If there are no complications, he would be released sometime Friday. We will probably stay in Houston for a day or two after to make sure he's comfortable before the drive home.

I have a few of requests for you all.
1. If you have time, please leave a comment here for Steve or send an e-mail to He already feels so much love and encouragement from you all -- I think an extra note right now would be even more meaningful.
2. Please pray for Steve, his doctors and his family, especially tomorrow morning.
3. Continue to think positively!


Anonymous said...

Steve and Tyra,

Vera and I have put you, the both of you and the doctors, on every prayer list we can find. And I can't even count how many times each day that a thought or prayer passes through my mind for you Steve. There are a couple of things in which I have strong faith... God didn't decide you should have the tumor. Cancer is a malevolent disease and nothing more, if that turns out to be the diagnosis. God, however, can yield tremendous healing power when called upon. And He is being called upon now.

Finally, as a cancer survivor, I can promise you that things will be so much better when you simply find out specifically what you are dealing with. Uncertainty can be the most difficult part of the ordeal.

Love to the Damms,
Mel and Vera Tittle

Sarah Zeldman said...


My prayers are with you. Here is some advice on healing from my spiritual leader, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitch Rebbe.

Four Steps

Four things advised for healing:

Find a good doctor and follow his instructions.

Dispel any thoughts about illness. Think only healthy thoughts.

Strengthen your confidence in the Healer of All Flesh, that He will heal you in whatever way He sees fit.

Increase your study of the inner light of Torah. (Sarah's note: Or, perhaps your own spiritual tradition)

A Daily Dose of Wisdom from the Rebbe
-words and condensation by Tzvi Freeman
Cheshvan 13, 5768 * October 25, 2007

Laura said...


Please know that you have an incredible support group surrounding you, sending you many thoughts of love and hope. I cannot make any assumptions about how you feel right now, but I can tell you that we're all hoping for the best and praying that God will give you the strength you need to beat this. Our love to Tyra, your incredible wife, and your beautiful, adorable children who will be so happy to see you when you return home in a few days. Let them bring smiles to your face during these times of need.
With love,
Laura & the Healys

Donna said...

Steve and Tyra,

You have been in our thoughts and prayers daily since the first news of your illness. Tomorrow will be a day when we will be sending more positive thoughts and prayers your way for an easy procedure and good results.

May you be comforted by the incredible amount of love, prayers and support we are all sending out to you, Tyra, Cooper "D" and Katie. We look forward to seeing you at church again soon.

Love to you all,
Mark, Donna and Bailey Roberts

Anonymous said...

Steve, I have been keeping up with your progress and have been praying for you and you family. Everytime I read your blog I can see God's hand at work in your life and those around you. What a blessing your beautiful family is and I pray that God's grace be upon all of you in the upcoming days. Marilie Coulson

Anonymous said...

Steve and Tyra,
Mine, and my family's, prayers and thoughts are with you and the children a tonight as you head into your surgery tomorrow. Please let us know if there is any way that we can be of help. You are continually on our hearts and minds.

Sarah Jenkins

robyn said...

Steve and Tyra,

Our connection is through family manager. And now, through pray. I will be praying for healing, calm, and comfort for each of you in the specific ways that only God knows you need and can provide.

Robyn Coffman
Prescott, Arizona

Anonymous said...


This will make such a great story in about 5 years! And I'm laughing now as I'm thinking about precisely how you'll tell it, with your dry sense of humor. You'll play up the special treatment (I mean really - your own private plane??? and being chauferred to work????) and leave your audience hanging in suspense as you relate all the ups and downs. But of course, there WILL be a happy ending. And a punchline.... Gotta be thinking about that punchline.

We love you and miss you and are sending happy thoughts (and of course, lots of prayers) your way.

The Lord bless and keep you,
The Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious, gracious;
The Lord lift His countenance upon you, and give you peace;
Shaalom, Shaalom.

Love from the Lasleys

Anonymous said...

Steve and Tyra,

Of course our prayers are with you and all of HCUMC's,too. I hope you can feel our love for you. I'm so sorry things are so hard now.

Two other friends have been treated at MD Andersen with great results. You are at the right place I'm sure.

Beaming love to you in HOuston,
Lorrie and Tom

Stephen_Paints said...

Steve and Tyra,
We are praying our hardest for you. We love and miss you.
Have a speedy recovery and we hope to see you soon.
Stephen and Leslie

chapman.d said...

Steve, Could you feel us praying for you tonight at choir? We were sending love your way. You are so incredibly strong and so is your wonderful family. We asked God to help us know how to help you. Prayer seems the best way, so that is what we are doing. I think about "Spamalot" and you singing with Jennifer and that makes me smile! Can't wait for you to be back here with us, but we know you have work to do, so we'll try to be patient. Much, much love,

Rob Cook said...

Praying for you, man.
Rob Cook

Frank Binetti said...

Tyra and Steve. I know that you guys are in a whirlwind right now but stay strong. You are in a great place right now. MD Anderson is the best for a reason...they are the best!

My wife and I are good friends with Steve's brother, Jim. Jim is in a running/walking club and I can assure you that all 535 of that club's members have you in our thoughts.

Keep this blog going. I read it at least once a day, usually twice. It's saved to my favorites.

Wishing your whole family all the best.

Frank Binetti

The Locke Family said...

Steve and Tyra,

We will be praying for you, the family, and the doctors involved in tomorrow's procedure. I pray that you will all be able to feel His presence in many ways tonight, tomorrow, and the days following to help get you through this tough time.

In His Grace,
Stephanie and Cory Locke

Chitnis and Chahal said...

Steve and Tyra,
Thanks for the updates on the blog, although I did speak to Steve twice today. Trust me, I was praying hard for the lesion to shrink so was disappointed when I got Steve's text page. Its been great to communicate with him through text pages. I told Rahul today about the update and even he said he would hope for things to go well tomorrow and from then on. Talked to the nice lady Dr that covered for me on the saturday I was gone and she is keeping her fingers crossed for you as well.
Sometimes knowing what you are dealing with is better than totally not knowing. I don't know what it is that made us get more aggressive with wanting to find out what the "thing" was but I couldn't keep waiting even a day longer not knowing.
Its strange the way I met you guys, but circumstances not withstanding, I am really glad to have met you both. You are really sweet and awesome. Good things will come your way, like someone said on the blog, ton of prayers are coming your way, add few more from the Chitnis (me)-Chahal (Rahul and Juhee) family as well.
Good luck and hang in there. Will feel good when I get a text page from you Steve, stating you are out of the biopsy and doing fine.
Shilpa (Dr Chitnis), Rahul and Juhee

Darla said...

Steve and Tyra,
You guys have so many prayers flowing your way! There are people you don't even know (including members of my church) who regularly mention Steve when they talk to God. I love thinking about that surge of prayers!
I'm also so moved by your family's unending strength through this entire ordeal. It's an inspiration to everyone who knows you.
Darla Atlas

Anonymous said...

Steve and Tyra,

I agree with all that Mel said and all those before him. You both are survivors. Nothing anyone can say now will be easy. But, being positive, continually seeking the best answers from medical sources available, and relying on God for strength, peace and healing. May he and all the angels around you hold you in their hands and lift you up and heal you. Vera

Jackie and Sydney said...

Steve and Tyra,

Sydney and I are praying for you and sending you all of our positive thoughts for a smooth surgery and a favorable analysis of the tissue. We love you!!!!

Love, Jackie and Sydney

Elise Gafford said...

Tyra and Steve - I am praying for you today.

Thanks for taking the time to blog and keep everyone updated. You are wonderful people and that shows by the amount of friends/helpers you have had.

My love to you all!
Elise Gafford