Well, that has been the question... and I want to thank you each for praying so diligently for this decision. I received a call from Ethan's oncologist yesterday evening and after a couple weeks of research, and the discussion with the entire Board of Specialists, the decision was made NOT to remove Ethan's spleen.
The conclusion was that the surgery itself would be more harmful to Ethan than him not having a spleen during transplant, would benefit him. He advised that they talked at length about the pros and cons of each scenario and all felt comfortable it was best to leave the spleen alone. I am so thankful that he won't have to go through such surgery, and this means we will be moving right along with the transplant in Boston. I will find out more details about "when" we will be moving to Boston by next Monday, but I expect we are only about 2 weeks away.
We feel really good about being able to move forward with the transplant, basically, as soon as they are ready for us to come. And that our baby boy will get to keep his little organ... however, it isn't lost on me that his spleen is still a potential issue. It is still quite large and could cause some complications during the transplant (as the spleen will "soak up" all the new donor cells and potentially delay the spreading of those new cells throughout Ethan's body by quite some time). And due to the size of his spleen, it could cause Ethan some trouble breathing (as it could crowd his lungs if it continued to grow) - which is why there was such debate about removing it. But, they decided that the surgery for the spleen puts his body at too much risk and the benefits of not having his spleen during the transplant, though they are good benefits, are not enough to outweigh such risks.
You can see why we were so torn with which way to go.... but I'm satisfied that the Lord has been a significant part of this process from the beginning, and this decision today was His to make.
Who knows.... maybe Ethan being able to keep his spleen will be used as a major testimony to the doctors in Boston when his transplant works MUCH easier than any of them would expect... small miracles are always welcome, right? And I'd love to be a part of a "shock and awe" scenario, many times over, throughout this process!
Thank you for praying for wisdom in this question. We are getting close... so very close to this next chapter in Ethan's healing. You need to know - to fully understand - that you prayers for us have carried us through each and every day these past 3 months. I'm so grateful for you. So grateful that the Lord put you into our path. And in all honesty, I think we've only just begun to really need your help in going before our Lord in prayer for our little boy. This transplant phase will be a trying one and, humanly speaking, Ethan's little life hangs in the balance the entire time. However, I cling to the verse I have had on this site from day one... 1 Corinthians 2:5 -That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Thank you for believing right along with us. Thank you for giving us your strength in prayers. And thank you for continuing to do so...
I pray the Lord blesses YOU with exactly what you need, when you need it.