Sunday, January 26, 2014

Update on my dad's surgery

I apologize for taking so long to type this.  I just arrived back home last night and have been busy loving on my family since then.

This was my dad with Luke and Traber on the day he returned from the hospital after his surgery in 2009.

My dad's surgery was on Wednesday morning (1/22).  Therefore, I drove into town arriving on Tuesday afternoon and headed to my parents' embroidery business so my dad could show me some things there that I could help out with while he was in the hospital.  

Wednesday, 1/22:  We truly expected the surgery to take a long time.  I mean, there was a lot that the surgeon and his surgical partner had to do once inside.  The concern of the surgeon was going to be trying to remove the tumor and connect the stomach back together.  The tumor appeared from the CT scan to be very close to the esophagus, which is a muscle.  That's where the difficulty connecting everything back came into play.

I am sure you can imagine then that when the surgeon came out to speak to us, only an hour and 15 minutes after the surgery began, we were extremely surprised.  To everyone's surprise, we found out that the tumor wasn't even attached to the stomach.  Instead, it was on his liver, pressing into his stomach.  It was also the size of a baseball yet super easy to snip off away from his liver.  I can just imagine the surgeon hearing a choir of angels singing as he saw the tumor perched so perfectly and so easy to remove.  The surgeon saw the cancer on the other side of his liver also.  However, due to the amount of cancer, he wasn't able to remove it surgically (he indicated it would involve removing 3/4 of his liver).  Also, when he repaired my dad's hernia, he found another tumor in the hernia sac.  This indicated that the cancer was more systemic and removing it via surgery would probably not be beneficial.  The surgeon was very pleased with everything though.  Because he didn't have to repair the stomach (praise the Lord!), he didn't have to even touch the spleen.  He did remove the gall bladder though.  The surgeon indicated that the hope was that the pathology came back that the cancers were all gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTS).  If so, there is a new chemotherapy drug that has been pretty successful.  So, that is what we all began praying for.

Praise the Lord--the pathology came back testing positive for the GIST, indicating that the drug should be helpful.  My dad's biggest concern going into the surgery was related to the stomach repairs.  And the surgeon didn't even have to repair that.  Again, we had some big praises to give the Lord.  He also was out of the hospital by Saturday, so I went ahead and headed back home.  He is now awaiting an appointment with his oncologist to discuss the chemotherapy drug.  There is also a possibility of using radiofrequency ablation to treat the cancer.

Abbey and Papa
I was so thankful for Drew's parents coming up and helping out with the kids.  What a huge relief during this time to know that the kids were well cared for!  By them watching after the kids, I was actually able to travel to be at my parents' side during this time, and serve them where needed.

my silly Abbey

Although I was SO HAPPY to be able to be there in Oklahoma with my parents and siblings, I sure did miss Drew and the kids.  A lot!  When I arrived on Saturday night, the first thing I did was cuddle with Luke for a really long time.  We missed our cuddle time with each other.  Abbey and I read a ton of books together.  And, I embraced Drew with a big, tight hug and kiss.  I love my family.

I missed this sweet little guy!
I missed this guy and gal too!
Although cancer is a pretty awful thing, it does remind us that our time on earth is limited.  It is important to not waste any moment we have.  For we never know when our time to leave this earth may come.  This perspective is a pretty powerful thing.  Thank you Lord for teaching us in moments like these and for reminding us that "our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." (2 Corinthians 4:17).

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