Today, Marcus Bolles, the 7-year-old boy from Astoria, will undergo surgery at 7 a.m. in New York to remove a tumor so large, it is now surrounding his aorta.
The tumors, with a new one growing on his lungs, shocked doctors during this week’s scans by how large they have become.
The Bolles family had a choice to make, Melanie Bolles said Wednesday, to re-move the tumor giving Marcus a long recovery process and only a 25 percent chance of living an additional five years, or to go home, weighing chance vs. quality of life.
Marcus Bolles made the decision and he wants to fight.
“Marcus and I had a long talk yesterday, there were a lot of tears, and I told him that he’s probably going to die and that the surgery may give him more time, but we don’t know for sure and it’s not going to be fun after surgery,” Melanie Bolles said.
Marcus Bolles will be on a respirator, have a feeding tube and colostomy bag, and will have to be woken up slowly from the surgery, likely over three days, to avoid shock from the trauma. The surgery is to remove a large tumor from a cancer so rare there are only 200 documented cases in the United States. Bolles’ tumor was discovered in December after a slight pain in his abdomen when he spent the day bowling.
What doctors found next shocked everyone.
“He’s one of those kids who just has a smile on his face all of the time. Doctors were surprised at the size of the tumor. And they said they had never seen this type of cancer here. But they were also surprised at his attitude. Besides the tumor, there was nothing wrong with him,” Melanie Bolles said at the time Bolles was featured in a Jan. 6 Daily Astorian article. (Visit http://tinyurl.com/cgfk6x2 to read more.)
Now, Bolles will be in the hospital in New York for at least two weeks. He then will have to wait for the OK from doctors to fly. Once home, it’s another six weeks of chemotherapy before a second trip to New York for removal of the tumor in his pelvic area.
“It’s going to be a tough recovery and we hope we can get another five years, but I gave Marcus the option to go home and enjoy every day that we have, or do the surgery and he wants to fight. He said he wants to do whatever he can do to get more time to allow the doctors to come up with something different to treat this. So that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go in at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning,” Melanie Bolles said Wednesday.
The operation will be at least eight hours, if there are no complications. Melanie Bolles said if the surgeon gets in and discovers removal of the tumor near Bolles’ aorta is too dangerous then he may have to just close him up.
There are only two surgeons in the United States who are familiar with Bolles’ type of cancer, Melanie Bolles said – in Texas and in New York – and with the help of the Clatsop County community and donation jars set up on store counters, the Bolles travelled to New York for the surgery. But the news they received Tuesday was not what they had hoped for.
“Today my heart was ripped right out of my chest,” Melanie Bolles wrote on the Get Well Marcus Bolles Facebook page Tuesday. “I am so Angry and devastated by this news. How am I suppose to make a decision like this? Take him home and love him living every day he has in the moment (or) try this surgery that may kill him, in a hope we can gain five years that may or may not be marred by sickness and pain. I don't know how to do this and I don't want to. Marcus and I have cried most of the day he knows everything and in spite of it all, he wants this surgery, he wants to fight so I guess that's what we will do, but I don't know if I can live with that decision if he doesn't come back to me after surgery. This isn't Fair. F--- YOU Cancer!!!!”
Meanwhile, community efforts for fundraising continue at home. The Columbian Theater will host a newer children’s movie at 3 p.m. Saturday for Marcus Bolles – a surprise movie of his choosing. The admission is $4 and there will be a candy buffet. Refreshments are extra.
TJ’s Auto Repair will host its annual online silent auction March 21 and 22, this year choosing Marcus Bolles as the beneficiary.
The Astoria Moose Lodge is hosting a spaghetti feed and benefit dinner at 5 p.m. April 13.
This story originally appeared in Daily Astorian.