Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Road to Recovery

I couldn't stay with her in the ICU last night but Lisa Marie gave 2 thumbs up to the care that Darcy gave her. He helped her in every way she needed and always let her know exactly what he was going to do before he did it, which is very helpful when you're still a little disoriented from the surgery and you can't see without your glasses. When I arrived at the ICU in the morning, Lisa Marie provide a somewhat less glowing report of the day nurse but as the day went on they formed a more amicable bond so it wasn't too bad.

The physician who assisted Dr. Sugarbaker came by during rounds this morning. His name is Dr. Zappa. He again reiterated how well the surgery went. He said she had a very excellent response to the chemotherapy from MD Anderson. The peritoneal walls were very clean, all of the small bowel was in good condition with no evidence of disease. They didn't have to remove any of the small bowel. And for the anonymous person who asked about the ileostomy, that is correct. The dime-sized ink mark on her right side where they thought they might have to put it remains intact. They were able to successfully reconnect things and everything in that area should return to normal eventually, another blessing.

Did I mention that I married the most amazing person? She has already started doing her leg and breathing exercises and the doctors would like her to sit in a chair this afternoon to help ward off any clot issues. She also has some soreness in her shoulder from being strapped down like on a cross during surgery. But she asks for a little massage and rubbing and I am more than happy to oblige. It's hard to rest in the ICU but she is asleep now. Unfortunately, the helipad is right outside so we've got that noisy helicopter landing thing going for us it seems like at least once an hour. (Speak of the devil, make that at least twice an hour as another helicopter hovers outside our window.) And what about the 2 visitor limit? Is there a party going on in the next room?

We must both thank you again for all the prayers, not only during this surgery but for all of those who have been praying all along this journey. There are many things that will stick in my mind from this whole experience, but two really stand out right now.

The first is on 12/29/08 when we were in the hospital in Houston and they were trying to figure out what the source of all the pain was. After several days of trying unsuccessfuly, she finally had a colonoscopy. As she was waiting to wake up from the procedure, the doctor came out to me and said, "It looks like we've found the problem. It's a tumor." And I said, "OK, a tumor. So what does that mean?" And he said, "Well, usually, (short pause), it's not good." Two days later, on New Year's Eve, adenocarcinoma was confirmed.

The second thing I will always remember, is after her surgery yesterday when Dr. Sugarbaker came out to talk to us. He was describing the whole procedure, telling us how well he thought things went, writing down notes for us, drawing pictures, and I asked him about the condition of the known peritoneal implant tumor that he removed. And he said, "It looked (short pause) dead." I know we have a long way to go to claim complete and utter victory but right now, going from "Usually, it's not good" to "It looked dead" in 204 days feels pretty good. So for all the the saints and prayer warriors that we don't even know whose prayer lists we were on, don't forget the follow up and thank our God for answered prayers. And don't take us off those lists just yet. Grace and peace to you all, from the Washington Hospital Center Surgical ICU in the nation's capital.

16 comments:

Stacey Tovino said...

Just keep telling us what to hope and pray for and we will do it. Cheers to a lovely, beautiful family. ~Stacey and Eric from Iowa.

Sara said...

Are you kidding me?! Sugarbaker and Zappa? That's awesome. :)

So glad to hear that she's able to already start with her exercises - I'm sure that will help tremendously in the recovery.

Take care of yourself, Sean.

Geri Archibald said...

Sounds like great news - love and prayers to you and Lisa, Geri

Mama T said...

It's so wonderful to read good news, you must be relieved beyond words, even though it's early days still. LM, my God woman, you are amazing. Doing exercises ALREADY. What strength you have, may you continue to blow us out of the water with your will and determination.

Anonymous said...

AMEN AMEN AMEN...

Unbelievable determination and strength Lisa Marie!!

It makes all the difference with a pillar of strength that you are providing Sean. Look forward to meeting you one day.

Keep the faith my friend

Anonymous said...

Awesome news...thanks for sharing! GOD is so good!

Keep up the strong fight, Lisa Marie. You are doing such an amazing job.

Missing my cube mate at work. Can't wait to see you when you get back!!

Anonymous said...

Tell her we are praying for her as she recovers and for you and Art as you support her! Big hug to all of you. Love, Michele

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear she's started the exercises and getting out of bed! It's rough going but so important. Love, you personal PT (Allison)

Anonymous said...

Sean, I'm teaching your Mom how to read the blogs and scroll down etc on the computer; she always ends up with tears in her eyes (maybe it wasn't such
a good idea!) as she's so proud of Lisa Marie and you and we're both so thankful for all the good news. Much love to you, Lisa Marie and Art and we'll talk to you tonight. All is well on the homefront...
Love,
Auntie Carol

Renée said...

I teared up reading this, too, and I'm not one to tear up. God is so good.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful news so far. I will continue to pray for Lisa Marie and her family as you continue to work through this recovery.

God bless you.

Leslie said...

Oh for heavens sake am i turning into Aunt Carole?? haha I have been tearing up on these last posts too. But tears of relief and joy for you both. No, the road isnt over yet but you have gone over one hell of a speed bump!! And lets hope the road gets a little less bumpy!! And yes you did marry an amazing woman!! Go Lisa Marie!! I think she did pretty good herself. Ha. Love to you both and keep us posted. (Yes thanks to whoever gave Sean the laptop!! Couldnt imagine this on a Blackberry:) :) And go Auntie Carol for getting Grandma Carole anywhere near a keyboard on a computer. haha

Mahima said...

Great news!! So glad to hear that she is fighting a strong fight :)

I'll keep on sending my prayers and happy thoughts!!

Anonymous said...

......what a wonderful love story........

Varina said...

Words really can't describe how in awe I am. I am so happy for you all.

Stephanie said...

What wonderful news. As with many others, it made me tear up too.