Friday, March 25, 2011

Surgery - check.

We got up to the hospital this morning around 9:30 a.m. and heard an update from Dad's surgeon around 11:00 a.m. They had removed his kidney and were working on the tumor in the vena cava. After another few hours, we got a call saying that Dad was in recovery. They were able to successfully remove the kidney and the tumor. The tumor was actually attaching itself to the liver and the diaphragm, so Dr. Harpster (our surgeon) had to scrape it off the liver and cut a hole in the diaphragm in order to remove it completely. Otherwise, the surrounding areas looked free of any evidence of cancer. Dad was intubated and because of the hole in the diaphragm, they had to keep him intubated after the surgery to make sure his lung didn't collapse after they stitched up the hole. Luckily, the stitches held, and Dad was extubated soon after he moved to the SICU (Surgical Intensive Care Unit). This was a great relief to him as the tube was irritating his throat. Because he could breathe on his own, he was fighting the tube which made it even more uncomfortable. We first saw him on the stretcher in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, and he was covered in warm blankets and hooked up to several IVs. Apparently the anesthesia can make a person really cold. That combined with his anxiety due to the tube down this throat made him really shaky. As soon as he saw us, we could tell he felt relieved that it was over. We didn't get to stay too long because they were moving him to the SICU.

Once in the SICU, we were able to visit with him a bit longer. At this point, he was extubated, but his throat was really sore, so it was difficult for him to speak. He was able to say that he felt OK but was in some intense pain. The doctors came in and upped his pain medication through his IV and through the epidural line. He was so super cute. He looked like the tin man from The Wizard of Oz as he tested his arms and legs as if moving them for the first time. He raised his arms above his head, stretched his legs, and wiggled his feet. It must be an odd feeling to wake up from a surgery not knowing what parts of you are missing and what parts of you are still there.

Overall, the doctors were optimistic about the surgery. They were able to get what the set out to get, and now we just wait for the healing, dialysis set-up, and pathology results. Dad has been such a trooper. He's been so amazing. I really am just SO proud of him for all that he has endured thus far. It's still going to be a long road ahead, but I know we will get through it. They are estimating he'll be in the hospital for two weeks as long as there aren't any complications, but we're just taking it day to day. We're just so happy that the surgery went well and Dad was able to see us and hold our hands. I just love him so damn much it hurts. Will continue to update as the week goes by. Everyone's thoughts have been awesome. Thanks so much.

Highlights of my day: Nursing Calvin in the hospital chapel; nursing Calvin in a weird abandoned phone booth; eating Philadelphia soft pretzels like they were crack (although I don't eat crack, so I'm not sure that makes sense); sticking together with my family; vegetable sushi from the cafeteria; Calvin eating bananas in the waiting room; Tippo (a tiger-hippo hybrid my mom bought to entertain Calvin); seeing my dad's sweet face after the surgery.

Downers of the day: The fact that the chaplain told us to nurse Calvin in the Jewish worship area, not the Islamic area; having to spray everyone and everything with hand sanitizer every two seconds; the drive home; the fact that I feel like a giant dough ball; the fact that my dad has to go through this shit; crusty waiting area seats.


  1. YEA! Glad they got the tumor. Continuing to pray for a speedy recovery and restored health.

  2. I love your highlights and downers section. So honest, and so real! That bugger of a tumor, I can't believe how far it had spread! Thanks for the info. I know you already are, but hug your mom for me. :)

  3. We are so impressed by everyone's strength. So glad to hear the surgery went well. We're here and thinking about you.

    Sara and Noah