My step-father, Robert “Skeeter” Scarborough is a 74 year-old man who is very ill. In September of 2015, Skeeter was hospitalized for internal bleeding and was diagnosed with esophageal varices with severe liver disease. He underwent medical procedures to control the esophageal varices, but this past June he was diagnosed with two cancerous tumors in his liver. My dad is now facing end-stage-liver disease, or liver failure and was told by his team of physicians that he now needs a liver transplant to survive.
Skeeter grew up in a small East Texas town and graduated from Diboll High School. Over the years, he has been involved in various kinds of employment from customer service to welding. Several years ago, when he decided to retire, he became more consumed with his “little” farm and Skeeter owns about 5 acres of land, with a barn, a garden area and sometimes a few cows…just enough to keep him busy. One of the things that Skeeter enjoys is spending time with his granddaughter and showing her around the farm. More than ever, he is hoping to recover from his liver failure and get a new lease on life with a liver transplant. Skeeter’s loving and supportive family are committed to seeing him through his transplant surgery, but they also need the support of their community to make Skeeter’s transplant surgery a reality.
March 2, 2018
As of February 26, 2018, Papa is no longer on the transplant list due to his health declining. However, we will be treating the cancer as long as we can. Overall, he and the family are in good spirits and living each day as normal as possible.
January 19, 2017
I thought I would let you know how the doctor visit went from yesterday (1/18/17). The appointment was a follow up to discuss the tests results from 1/4/17.
These tests have to be repeated every three months.
CT scan of chest – There are some are fibrosis noted in the lung bases but it is common for his age and previous smoker. One of his lungs isn’t inflating all the way. Again not uncommon in older people as they tend to lay more and usually on sides. No evidence of metastatic disease. Good news!
MR of Abdomen – The two Chemoembolization cavities have become a little smaller. At this time, we will not repeat another injection of chemo, as they seem to be holding. No new liver mass indicated. Cirrhosis is still the same. The enlarged spleen is still the same. There is a Schmorl’s node at L3-L4 – not uncommon with age just advised to keep a close follow up. There are a few renal cysts (nothing that we hadn’t known before). Gallstones are still present. Overall this is good as the there is no new mass and the chemo is holding the tumors at bay. No new hot spots of cancer were seen.
Whole Body Scan – The first scan was done on 7/12/16, so the one on January 4 was to compare where we are and to make sure there is no other cancer popping up anywhere else. So here’s the bottom line on it:
1. Compared to 7/12/16, there 91 no significant interval change.
2. Despite lack of interval change, neoplasm cannot be excluded with respect to the skull lesions.
3. Focal increase in the distal left femur suggests enchondroma or other benign abnormality.
4. Extensive degenerative disease in the spine and peripheral joints.
When we first had the scan done in 7/12/16, Papa had told them about his accident in 2001. After discussing with the doctor more about the accident and the areas that he actually was hurt in, she is going to discuss with the radiology group if we need to check further about the lesions in skull and the enchondroma in femur. (The leg that was injured was the right leg and the injuries sustained in 2001 didn’t include his head.) The doctor will let us know what they decide. Regardless if there is further testing, this doesn’t hold up his transplant status at this time.
MELD Score (Model For End-Stage Liver Disease) (12 and older) to quantify end-stage liver disease for transplant planning. In October, we were scored 15. As of yesterday, we are at a 12. The decrease is due to his lab results. He’s starting to lose his platelets again which means transfusion may be in his future. However, because the heart doctor gave him a release to have transplant, when he completes 6 months of waiting, his score will become 28. That’s great news. They will be able to do transplant at 28 score. There is only a window of opportunity on this score system, 28-40. If he gets to 40 before he has a transplant, he will no longer be considered for transplant.
The doctor informed us yesterday that Papa’s name has already come up a couple of times but he wasn’t released for heart doctor and his score was not high enough. Knowing this, it is great news!
But there’s a hiccup to this great news. If Papa qualified in numbers and got called tomorrow, he would have to pass on the liver. Why? Medication costs is the issue. Once the transplant is performed, he will automatically have 15 additional medications to take. Two of which is $4800 a month. Papa doesn’t have prescription coverage until his insurance. He didn’t think he needed at the time when he began the insurance. We tried to get him enrolled for a prescription plan but we couldn’t because of Medicare sanctions. Our next window of opportunity is October of this year. If approved, will be effective January 1, 2018.
Six months means transplant can happen as early as July.
I am working on finding out how I can get him on a prescription plan, without canceling his current insurance plan. We also have to still work with doctors in Lufkin, so I have to consider what insurance they take and what insurance will cover the hospital and doctors in Houston and NOT placing a pre-existing clause on us.
As long as he is in his current stability, we have a little time to work on what we need to.