By Linda Wallace

Author's thoughts on the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Friday, November 10, 2006


My husband has liver cancer. We got the diagnosis October 4 after a preventative ultrasound revealed a 5.5 cm tumor. My husband has known he has hepatitis C since the early 1990s and that hep C can cause cirrhosis and liver cancer, but though blood tests for viral markers have been extremely high they have also been stable, so I suppose we have both become rather complacent about the scary possibilities. He had bypass surgery in 1995, and we’ve been more concerned about heart disease than liver problems.

I had intended for this blog to be about happy things, but it’s hard to think happy when you have cancer on your mind. To be more honest, I’d hoped a blog would help to connect readers to my Web site,, and my books, Wings ePress, Inc. Everyone says it works that way, but promoting my writing doesn’t seem so very important now, either.

My husband has lots of hard decisions to make. After an EKG, heart stress test, blood tests and a CT scan, the cardiologist and surgeons say he’s a candidate for liver resection, but they will have to remove the entire left lobe, and the surgery is very risky. Take too much liver and the results can include jaundice, fluid accumulation, mental confusion and coma. The survival rates are not great, either. My husband thought the surgeon said 30%. I’ve seen different figures on various Web sites, for instance, and the National Cancer Institute. According to the American Cancer Society, "The overall 5-year relative survival rate from liver cancer is about 9%."

Radiofrequency ablation is also an option, but it doesn’t cure the patient of the cancer. Radio waves "cook" the tumor. This is not my own highly technical medical term; it’s how the doctor described what happens. If the cancer is carbonized, I don’t understand why it isn’t gone for good. One of the many things I need to find out. One of the surgeons said my husband has 1 to 2 years to live if he does nothing. RFA might add 1 or 2 more years.

Definitely not happy thoughts. I’m gathering as much information as I can. There are many sites, including lots of blogs,, for one. I hope it proves true that knowledge is power. We are both feeling very helpless right now. A little power would be a very good thing.

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At 10:40 AM, Blogger Kristina said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and making me aware of yours!

I am so sorry about your husband's health. My brain is a small, inelastic one that has trouble wrapping itself around the Big Things. Cancer, divorce -- my trainer is getting divorced and for some reason, I find just knowing that very painful! If you find the means to becoming more centered and calm, please share it with me. Maybe I should learn more about meditation?

I took the kids to Seattle a year ago August and we loved it! You sound particularly involved in your community. I should, could do more. You are a helpful reminder that I should be less isolated, more out there. After the holidays, maybe I'll go niche-hunting. I tried helping bilingual students, but they put me with Eastern European children, not the Hispanic kids, so my second language got shelved.

Good luck with everything!

At 10:02 AM, Blogger Linda Wallace said...

Thank you for your concern. I do yoga, which has some built-in meditation on a small scale. I've never been able to concentrate, let go, whatever it takes to do real meditation. I find any kind of exercise has a calming effect, though. Walking is my favorite as I'm a bit of a voyeur and like to look at everyone's house and yard. But, I have to admit, since we learned about my husband's cancer, it's been harder to stay centered.

There must be many, many organizations that would love to utilize your language skills. Try again. There are lots of children waiting to be inspired by you.

At 11:57 AM, Blogger EilisFlynn said...

I hope this finally gets through. I'm not one to do much praying, but I will for you, Linda. Good luck, and I'll see you soon.

At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Avoiding a busy day in front of me, I just spent an hour reading your blog. I'm one of your neighbors, who loves living on our street and our community as well.

Thank you for letting me get a chance to get to know you even a bit better. It seems my focus has always been more with you loving husband. But I know too, behind every great man, there is a great woman. You amaze me with all the love you seem to have for life and that you get out and enjoy it, take it in. It's inspiring to say the least. And when I read the title of the one blog about the best neighbor award, Dale's name came to my mind too.

We are fortunate to liuve in such a great place, even though perhaps the news tries telling folks quite the opposite. Thanks for being a great neighbor.


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