Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Answered Prayers Regarding Dr. Liau!

Shirley and I have just returned from consultation with Dr. Liau. It went VERY well! Thanks to everyone who prayed for this meeting - every prayer was answered!

First, Dr. Liau is very personable and articulate. I really liked her, as did Shirley. Dr. Liau was able to answer all my questions and explained her evaluation thoroughly. My tumor is slightly larger than originally reported - about 5cm. It is located near Broca's Center - an area that controls speech. The biopsy report showed it as a Grade 3, but Dr. Liau said it had characteristics of a Grade 2, which was probably why my original neurosurgeon so classed it. There's a significant difference between the two grades: Grade 2 is considered 'low-grade' and surgery is the ONLY treatment required. Grade 3 is 'high-grade,' and will need to be treated post-operatively with chemo and radiation. The final determination will be made when they get the tumor out and can do a complete examination. Please pray that it will be grade 2!

Second, Dr. Liau is available to do my surgery on July 3. She said I'd probably be in the hospital 3-4 days.

Third, here's the exciting part: If the tumor is within 1cm of Broca's Center, Dr. Liau will perform her pioneering procedure where I'll be awakened during surgery to help determine just how far she can go to get maximum tumor without permanent brain damage. How close the tumor is to Broca's will be determined by a Functional MRI that will be performed prior to surgery on an out-patient basis. Another term for Functional MRI is "brain-mapping." She said it would be very precise, determining where my Broca's Center begins and ends (differs from person to person). I've always enjoyed speculating about the synergy of mind/brain/soul, and this will be a fascinating exercise!

Dr. Liau has performed literally hundreds of these procedures with an amazing success-rate (all her surgeries have been successful; the ultimate outcome for each patient depends on the final grading of the tumor and the efficacy of subsequent treatment, if any).

She gave me a copy of the March 2005 National Geographic that features her. In it, the author details sleep/awake surgery on a tumor nearly identical to mine. Very encouraging!

So, to summarize, here's what I've been asking people to pray for:

1. That Dr. Liau would be able to fit me into her schedule for consultation. Answered.
2. That Dr. Liau and I would "click," that I would be assured she's the right surgeon for me. Answered.
3. That Dr. Liau would be available to do the surgery within the timeframe necessary for successful treatment. Answered.
4. That she would give me some positive news regarding my prognosis. Answered.

Please continue to keep me in prayer - particularly that the surgery will be successful with minimal side-effects (Dr. Liau warned that most patients have some trouble speaking for several hours or days after surgery, due to swelling), and that the tumor will test out as a grade 2, so I can avoid further treatments.


Anonymous said...

Robert - fantastic news. Amazing actually. With all our thoughts and prayers will will send signals to the right folks to get them answered.

Question on the date - June 3rd? or July 3??

Anonymous said...

What an answer to prayer!!! We will continue to uphold you and your family with our prayers!!!

In Christ,

Art & Kathy Kesler

Robert Hommel said...


Oops! July 3! I'll make the correction in my original post.

Michele Lear said...


This is really encouraging news and a great witness to the power of prayer and to God's great mercy to those who call on Him.


Anonymous said...

Great news, we are glad to know that Dr. Liau will be able to perform the surgery very soon. Indeed an answer to everyone's prayer.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.