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.