Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Surgery Day Update - with 40% More Liver than Originally Advertised

So the surgery happened as scheduled yesterday. The days and weeks leading upto it were stressful for both of us, in different ways. By this past weekend, I was a bit of a basket case. I was totally fine until someone would ask me how I was. Once asked, I'd fall apart. Charming.

Here is the update we sent out to anxious friends and family last night. So far, everything is going very well.

Hello again everyone,

Thanks so much to everyone for the tweets, FB messages, emails, txts and phone calls. It really meant a lot to us to have so much support from you today.

As many of you already know, Mark did have his surgery this morning. We were told to be down there for 6 a.m. He actually told me that he had a good sleep last night, me, I slept in 20 minutes blocks all night. By 7:30 a.m. we had seen both his surgeon, and his anesthesiologist (the one he requested, who was with him for his last 2 surgeries). We found out that the operation would take between 7 and 8 hours. This was a bit of a shock to both of us as we had thought it would be 4 to 6 hours. Until 8 a.m. rolled around and the nurse came to get Mark, I was holding my breath. I was really afraid that we could get cancelled.

My mum very kindly hung out with me at KGH all day. While we were there, waiting, we were able to visit an old family friend who is having an extended stay. It was nice to see him and have the distraction of thinking about someone else’s situation for a little while. We wandered around a bit, had lunch and leisurely made our way back to the waiting area, thinking we had at least 4 hours before we’d see anyone with an update. 10 minutes after we arrived in the waiting room (around 3 p.m. or so), Mark’s surgeon came into the room, wearing street clothes and a big smile on his face.

Mark’s op went really well. When they got in there, they discovered that the tumours (yes, he had 2 more small tumours develop since the December 16 MRI) were all in an area which allowed them to remove a “wedge” of liver instead of the large segment they had planned to remove. Because they were removing such a smaller piece, the risk in the short term of him having difficulty getting his liver function back to normal is decreased significantly. I asked the doctor for the percentage of liver removed (explaining to him that Mark was a “math guy” and would want to know) – he told me 20% was removed. Now, the recovery and everything else will still be the same but the overall result is much better. I asked about the chances of there being other tumours in the liver and the doc told me that they felt around the liver, and did an ultrasound and that any additional growths would be on a cellular level at this point. When I asked him if chemo would help to lessen that risk he told me yes and that Mark would probably do chemo in 2 months. Because Mark has never had chemo before, his prognosis is very good. I felt incredibly relieved to hear this.

Two hours later I was able to see Mark in the recovery room. He had a lot of equipment hooked up to him but was not uncomfortable. Recently he was diagnosed with some tendonitis in his shoulder and that was giving him grief (probably because of all of the snow shovelling he’s been doing recently!) but otherwise all was well. About 90 minutes later, he was moved to a monitored room. He’ll probably be there for 2 or 3 days which is good.

When I saw him in his room, he was wanting to sit up and drink some water. He was hot and uncomfortable. I figure that this is all a good sign. If you can complain, it can’t be all that bad, right? The nurses won’t be taking any crap off of him and I told him to do what he was told. By now, I’m hoping he’s asleep.

I’m hoping too that I’ll get some sleep tonight. It’s good to be home after such a long day and the dogs seemed happy to see me although I could tell that they were wondering where Mark was.

Over the next few days, I’ll continue to provide updates about how he’s progressing. He doesn’t have any devices with him yet (although I’ll be taking his phone to him tomorrow) but I know he’d like to hear from you if you’d like to drop him a line (or send it to me and I’ll make sure he gets it). I'm sure that there is lots I've forgotten about today but I think I've got all the big pieces. I'm a little brain dead at the moment!

Thanks again, everyone, for all of your good thoughts and lovely messages. It was an enormous help to us today!!

much love,

Peggy and Mark

No comments: