Friday, November 30, 2007
"Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." The words of Jesus in Matthew 6:34. How true. And how difficult sometimes. I can't keep a single hair on my own head from falling out, let alone one of Leslie's. Or the mood of a 2-year-old. Or the results 3 months from now of a radiation process that hasn't even started yet.
I just want so badly to FIX it all. That's the man in me, I guess. We tend to be fixers. Which if we're not careful can make us very bad listeners. It can come across as having a lack of heart-felt compassion. That's why they say we're not "nurturers". I'm not using that as a crutch, or even letting out a Tool-Time Tim caveman grunt of pride. Rather... it's a day-to-day challenge to overcome. The solution?
It may lie in the verse directly before the "do not worry verse" in Matthew. "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness..." A daily laying down of my agenda, my pride, my LIFE... at the foot of the cross. The line can seem very cloudy at times, though, between laying down my "agenda and pride", and letting go of my responsibilities and retreating, waiting for the day to pass. Burying myself in work or the ballgame or whatever. It is difficult (at home, at work, at play) to "consistently" do the things I need to do to get us through the day, without expecting, coveting-- even demanding-- some sort of noted progress at the end of the day. To see Leslie feeling better. To hear her laugh. To hear the doctors say the words, "you are healed". For TJ to go to bed easily and sleep through the night. To get the car paid off.
I find it odd. Because I'm a "process" person-- not a results-oriented guy... or so I thought. I don't set goals, but take pride and joy in the process of making myself or things better. Maybe my weakness is one of "perseverence"... which is basically, in the running world, continuing to put one foot in front of the other-- in the right direction, keeping pace-- when you can't see the finish line.
I'm not sure it's consistency that I need prayer for. It's perseverence. And that can be a very scary thing to pray for... it might just be granted... through a long, long struggle, with no end in sight. Tyson
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
I can say I didn't take much "for granted" in life, prior to the cancer bit... but I will say that this season had lost a bit of its meaning. It had grown into more of a "time off of work"... veg' time with the fam'... very fun time of the year, but not truly a season of "thanksgiving" and worship of our flesh-born Savior. But this year I'm very much into the "spirit" of the occasion. With every breath, I seem to be exhaling the words "Thank you..." in silent prayer.
Thank you for another year... another day... with my beautiful wife. Thank you for our beautiful little boy, and that I can watch them loving each other with laughter and kisses for another holiday. Thank you that Leslie gets to watch TJ open his presents, and that she can tell him the story of Baby Jesus in a manger, with his eyes wide with delight and intense interest. Thank you for improving health... for the scoreboard reading in our favor in this competition against cancer. Thank you for the marvelous quality and quantity of food that I'm about to consume... and thank you that at least Leslie can enjoy the sight and nourishment thereof... if not the taste and smell. Thank you for our wonderful families... for parents who support us and who still love each other so well after all these years. For brothers and sisters and in-laws, and aunts, uncles, cousins, etc... who are so enjoyable to be with, and who love us well. Thank you for Your provision... for a job that I enjoy, for good people to work with, and a boss who is understanding and supportive in times such as what we've gone through over the past few weeks. Thanks for your grace, peace, patience, hope, and perseverence, healing, and salvation-- all which have taken on new and profound meaning these days. Thank you for life. And again, the opportunity to share it for another Thanksgiving with my best friend... my "better half"... my Leslie.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Marked progress for Leslie today. Not as much nausea, a little less splitting of headache. She remained in pretty good spirits all through the 2 1/2 hour excursion to see Dr. Prabhu and back. She just hit the wall when she got home, but I was so proud of her. Conversation was almost normal in the car on the way home... we were laughing at each other and telling TJ stories. It was wonderful. Hopefully her pillow will be a little more comfortable this afternoon-- they removed the stitches today. So now she can shower and wash her hair and everything all by herself. She's all grown up!
The big visit will be tomorrow. We go back to talk to Dr. Zender, and the Radiation specialist we'll be working with in the next "phase". There will be quite a bit more to update on then. As far as Dr. Prabhu is concerned, he says everything looks wonderful... the vision and sensation problems Leslie has been having are to be expected and will self-correct, most likely. The MRI looks great. Sometimes it's hard to differenciate between fresh scar tissue/ "healing" and remnant tumor cells... but he feels that the weird readings they're getting are "the good stuff". She'll have to have another MRI during or after her initial radiation program to confirm. That should start right around Thanksgiving. Happy holidays! :) tyson
Monday, November 12, 2007
I'm working from home this week. And TJ is coming home with my mom tomorrow afternoon. It will be a joyous homecoming, for sure. In the darkest place of our minds, there was this fear that... well... I'll just restate... it will be so good to have TJ home with his mommy tomorrow.
I talked to him on the phone today. He asked where mommy was, and I said she was home from the hospital. "She want to talk to me on the phone?" He asked in his beautiful little two-year-old intonation. He talked to mommy for about 10 minutes... a TJ record, I believe. You only usualy get a second or two before he says "Bye-bye". He misses his mommy. And we miss him.
As she's eating more, she's confirmed the loss of her smell and taste. And the feeling in the left side of the inside of her mouth. (and unrelated, the feeling on the top of her head.) Weird. It sounds so trivial, considering what dangers she's faced over the past week... but I really hope she gets her sense of taste back. One of our favorite things to do together is go out to eat. We're big fans of food-- and a perfect date night to us includes fine dining out and an early bed-time. Or at least, that's the way it was. Again... trivial, really, all things considered. Oh yeah, her left eye is still screwy. She donned the patch most of the day. She's being a good sport about it and kind of laughed when I sang the Captain Feathersword's Pirate Dance song.
We talked and laughed and just hung out this evening. It was wonderful to have my best friend back.
I'm still nudging her toward starting to pick up with her blog. I really don't like speaking (or typing) for her. But it is still so hard for her to read, due to the eyesight. She is trying to adjust to focusing with just one eye.
Anyway, that's today in a nutshell... Tyson
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
LESLIE IS COMING HOME THIS MORNING! We just took a short walk together, under the assessment of the PT-- a "final exam" of sorts... we passed with flying colors! In about a half-hour, they'll be bringing her discharge papers and meds to take home. On a hunch this morning, I turned up the thermostat at the house and packed some clothers for her. (And yes, I made the bed.) :)
Praise be to God the Father for his provision and healing. Check off another on the long list of prayers being answered this week!!!
Thursday, November 8, 2007
They removed her feeding tube!!! YES! What a wonderful and horrible experience, all at the same time. I could draw some analogies, but... again... there are kids reading this, I hear...
Dr. Zender did confirm she's experiencing some double-vision, due to the work they did around her left eye. He had prepared us for this, and says it is most likely just temporary and/or correctable. He said they may give her an eye patch for a while, until the muscles heal properly. (TJ will think she's Captain Feathersword.) The doctor's orders for this evening: a long romantic walk down the hospital hallway. Seriously, it's as good as the beach, as far as I'm concerned right now. Except... being in New Smyrna Beach with TJ right now sounds pretty nice.
Dr. Zender says we'll most likely be home on Saturday. Deep breath. Sigh of relief. Respiration all around. And another big HALLELUJAH! Tyson
Leslie progressed very well with her eating and exercising at lunch. She ate about 1/3 of what they served her. She really can't taste a thing (although it's hospital food-- I thought maybe that not tasting it would be a good thing... and then I tried it and realized I couldn't taste it either.) But she choked it down, in hopes to convince the doctors that she's ready to have the feeding tube removed. Exercise time was a huge success. She didn't "hit the wall" until 50 paces very slowly, back-and-forth beside her bed. And I didn't help much either-- she just needed my hand for balance. That wore her out. She started to lie back down, and then they came in and said it was time to move! Now she's sleeping in her new not-so-private digs. Pray for a fast discharge. :) And give thanks to God for her progress!
This is going to be so hard for her. And hard for me to know how to balance being a compassionate protector and a motivational cheerleader. Too much compassion, and she won't be motivated to get better. Too much encouragement/ pushing and she'll "pop". But she needs both. My poor girl. My heart hears her whimpers and just wants to tell the nurses to back off and let her rest. My head tells me this is necessary for her to get stronger.
She's back asleep. She was up in a chair for 55 minutes at breakfast. Ate a whole bowl of Cheerios, and a few bites of bacon and English muffin. And she's drinking a lot of water. But all of this took everything she had in her. She was sweating and crying when they helped her back into bed.
At lunch time, we're shooting for 2 hours, and a walk around the bed. The nurse is making it sound like they're expecting her to be out of ICU later today. A couple days ago, that was something to look forward to. In the grand scheme, I know it is. In the moment, though... I'm not so sure. Tyson
Any minute, now the nurse will be coming in to get Leslie up. Our mission today: Out of ICU! Requires all kinds of movement, work, eating, etc... It's going to be a rough one, and Leslie is miserable. Please pray. Nurse is here, now... got to go. I'll update when she next rests...
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
My poor girl. She's working so hard. Everything is in slow motion. Her left eye is swolen shut again today. Every time she changes positions, the shifting just dizzies her and hurts her head so badly she can't even move or even respond. Each foot lifted off the ground no more than an inch as she was "marching"... and it was like she was leg-lifting 100-lb dumbells strapped to her toes. She basically choked down the little bites of chicken because she wants the feeding tube out of her nose... the ice cream tasted pretty good to her, though... we'll be having some more of that later. :)
Dr. Prabhu came by earlier. Everything's looking great. She will probably be staying here in ICU for at least another full day- if not two. But that's okay. Again, you can't beat the care she's getting here. She's got "homework" again tonight-- trying to sit up in a chair for another 10 minutes. She'll need to rest between now and then, though... almost in her post-op veggetative state again for now.
She asked me to read some of your replies and emails to her earlier. I read to her for about a half-hour. She was moved and encouraged. It is truly good to be loved and supported in your most difficult hours. Thank you. I have a newfound compassion for Christ's body, community, and this "agape" love. Brings new meaning to the words of Christ when he spoke about "The Kingdom of Heaven is like..." He wasn't just speaking about heaven. He was instructing us how to live with one another here... "...Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." We have truly been blessed by our Father through you all over the past 3 weeks. Thank you for being vessels. Tyson
We have a very good nurse today. It's interesting... the "more experienced" nurses seem to be a little less concerned with what we have to say, or really, how she's feeling (at least that's how it seems to Leslie and me). We have a "less experienced" nurse again today... thank goodness. Leslie was feeling pretty nautious earlier. Her feeding tube is still in and running (according to the order), which made me ask the nurse the question: If Dr. Zender needs her to eat in order to remove the feeding tube, but the feeding tube is constantly running, keeping her stomach full... how is she ever supposed to eat? Isn't the whole thing kind of self-defeating? Stephanie the nurse said she was kind of wondering the same thing. She made a call, and now the feeding tube is shut off. The tube is still in, but we're going to see if we can get her hungry enough to eat some lunch. That would be a huge step. Get her insides moving, get that tube out of her nose, and so-on.
I'll check back in after lunch time with the update.Tyson
Tomorrow's goal: eat more food, so they can remove that horrible feeding tube up her nose/ in the back of her throat. And more PT progress. Somebody remind me to start making the bed when I leave for the hospital each morning. My baby's coming home soon! (easy there, tiger... one day at a time.) (But seriously, I can't ignore that distant-- at least now it's visible-- glimmer of the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.)
You all are righteous people. Answered prayers abound today! Please keep it up. Good night! Tyson
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
In an effort to keep her awake, and upright in her chair as the PT's orders, I'm going to dictate a message from her... here goes... (her comments in bold, mine in italics)
"I accomplished a huge feat today... I sat up. *sigh*" (can you feel the sarcasm?)
"I feel like ..." oops... stop transmission-- we're keeping this a family-friendly blog...
Okay that didn't go so well... Her head just started hurting really badly and we had to get her back into bed. We'll try again tomorrow. So she didn't make it an hour as they had hoped... more like 10 minutes. Baby steps. She's back asleep now. Whew... that was an adventure!
But, while she was with us, we had a really good conversation (her eyes were closed, and she was speaking so quietly and slowly it was almost inaudible... but I could definitely hear my girl in there. Man, I missed her!) She called the Colts "those morons" when I told her about the game, and added, "I hate Tom Brady". Maybe that's what made her head start hurting. I gave her the re-re-recap of the surgery and the success thereof. I showed her a picture of TJ playing on the beach, which my dad emailed me this morning-- and that made her smile and nod slowly. And she's drinking small sips of water and juice.
All in all, I'd say we've just turned the corner. I'm off to go eat some lunch. Who knows... maybe she'll be walking across the ICU with only the aid of a walker by tomorrow's morning blogging?
Glory to the Father!
So, she looks much more comfortable now... fewer hoses to get tangled up in. Sitting up at about a 30-degree angle. I smile as I hear her snoring ever so quietly. That's a beautiful sound.
Thank you, God, for again making it easier to see you working here. You know I never doubted... but it's nice to see the glaring evidence once again. You are faithful and full of grace and mercy. Thank you. Tyson
Monday, November 5, 2007
The highlight of the day was when Dr. Zender came in for 5 minutes late this afternoon. He assured us that all was going according to plan.Tomorrow they will start to sit her up, clamp the lumbar drain, and start feeding her orally. These days are all starting to bleed together into the same shade of gray. And still another long night awaits my poor girl. For prayer requests, just read last night's blog. I wish I had more to report. I just don't.
I probably won't have much to add before I head home later tonight. So I guess I'll just say good night for now. Halleluja-- a joyful noise I will make... quieter perhaps tonight... but a joyful noise none the less. I'm glad to be sitting in silence with my sleeping wife. For the moment, there's no other place in the world I'd rather be. (Although that's probably easier for me to say than it is for her.)
Her "head covering" is off (our AC brothers and sisters should get a chuckle out of that). :) Surprisingly, they didn't have to shave much of her hair back at all. If you didn't know her hair before the surgery, you might not even recognize the higher hairline. The scar is almost ear-to-ear, but healing nicely. Once the hair grows back, it should be fairly well-hidden, although she might have to find a new style-- but she's got a knack for that. :) Her friend Beth went out and bought her a bunch of stylish scarves that I'm sure will be a staple in her wardrobe for the next several months until everything grows back. We have such good friends.
Mimi and Papa called from Florida. They took TJ on a little "vacation", just the three of them. We've been building up the event for a week or so, and he was very excited to "go on de airplane and go to da beetz." (beach) He's very happy, and only has cried a couple of times-- once when Papa pinched his finger in the airplane armrest, and once when he "bonked" into an open car door. Otherwise, he's having a blast... I'm not sure whether I need to pray for Mom and Dad to be able to survive the week with TJ, or vice versa. (Just kidding, Mom and Dad. Thank you so much for this.) His little get-away will give us some time to get back home and for Leslie to recover a bit before TJ sees her. We're trying to be sensitive to what effect this whole thing could have on his little psyche. When he gets back, he heads right to "Gram's and Gramps' house" near Peoria for another week. He loves it there. He thinks this whole thing is a great treat. By the time he gets back home, Leslie will be a little more looking, feeling and acting herself, and that will be much better for TJ to take than seeing her in her current state.
I'll give updates today as there are some to give... hopefully more than yesterday, to the good, of course. Potentially she will start to eat, drink (which she is most looking forward to-- her dry mouth is almost unbearable), and maybe even start to sit up. We'll see...
Thank you all for your love and prayers.
Because she had such a bad night last night, she doesn't want me to leave. They're going to let me hang around until the ambien-morphine coctail knock her out. They're bringing in the "good stuff" for tonight. Hopefully she'll sleep deeply through the night as a result.
They're concerned about the heart rate still. The fluid draining/ retention seems to be right on course, but clotting in her legs and lungs is what they're watching out for now-- especially with the weird heart rate. Dr. Zender stopped by, and we were both very happy to see him. He gives us such assurance. He didn't tell us anything the other doctors hadn't already... but it somehow means more coming from him, since he's the one who "did this to her". :)
I guess we're right on track. As tough as it is.
I don't know what to pray tonight. I guess I'll close my eyes and wait for the Spirit to intercede. Here's where I count on you all to come up with the right words. Good night. Tyson
Sunday, November 4, 2007
But her discomfort and anxiety are still fighting against her ability and desire to rest easy and sleep. They've upped her drugs but they say they won't give her the really strong stuff until tonight. I'm frustrated. Colts game doesn't look likely. And I forgot to set the DVR. I've got to go eat something. Her mom is here, now, too. We've just been sitting here in silence for the last hour or so...
Hey doc... can you give me some of what she's having...?
This morning I decided I'd throw on a CD for the drive to the hospital. Glen Phillips "Mr. Lemons". (He's the guy from the 90's alternative band, Toad the Wet Sprocket.) I cranked it. I'd been driving in silence this week, just letting my mind breathe, pray, etc... There was enough noise there already, so silence was the ambiance of choice. This morning, though, it was a beautiful day for a coffee and some tunes, as I drove toward the downtown skyline against a sapphire sky on I-55.
I'd fallen in love with this CD several months before we even knew what the words "papilloma" and "craniotomy" meant. And I know now God was preparing me for these commutes. The artist has put together a beautiful folk-rock album that first explores the joy of life, and how we sometimes bore or medicate ourselves to the point that we forget how deeply that joy truly runs. Then, he explores the depths of sadness and pain-- even death. And then he choses, rather than dwelling on the morbidity of that suffering, to again awaken the joy that the blessings of this life have to offer-- to make the most of every moment, in humble thanksgiving, and passionate expression. He cries out, "I will make a joyful noise", because, as he says in another song, "you never know, it might be the last sunset we ever see..." Every song has a deeper meaning now. And I feel that the Holy Spirit has given me these songs to cry out where my voice and strength alone cannot. In the past week, Leslie's and my favorite song from this album has helped us through some very difficult drives (to doctor visits, MRI's, and what-not). It's called "Thank You". I imagined her sitting there in that passenger seat again, our sunroof open to the beautiful fall sunrise, singing this song with me.
You made this world... Thank you...
You gave me life... Thank you...
You brought this peace...
You sow these seeds... Thank you...
Your love is everywhere... Open me! Open me!
You kept me warm... Thank you...
When I was in the wasteland, when I was in the wars, when I was all alone. Thank you... Thank you!
Your love is everywhere... Open me! Open me!
Let it come through me, now. Let it come...
Your love, Lord! Everywhere! Your love is everywhere! You're everywhere!
Open me, open me!
(just typing the words doesn't do the song justice. I strongly suggest you check it out on iTunes, or something. "Thank You" from Glen Philips' "Mr. Lemons" album.) Tyson
Leslie continues to progress wonderfully. They are now feeding her through her nose, which is a huge step-- and her stomach is taking it relatively well, and while they monitor the situation closely, there has been absolutely no spinal fluid drainage into her stomach in the process-- again, I give praise to God for this. Her face, now fortified with the 2 units of blood they gave her today, is a glowing red-- a good sign, they say. Her brain and spinal fluid continue to drain (and replenish) according to the Drs.' plan. Like I said... a wonderfully eventless day. It is just so hard to sit there and watch her have to lie virtually immobilized, hooked up to all those tubes and machines and monitors. I've never seen so many tubes and wires coming out of a person-- even in those overly dramatic medical dramas on network TV (I hate them, Leslie loves them, let's see if either opinion is swayed when she gets back home). And the bandage on her head and her oxygen mask make it impossible to kiss her anywhere but on the back of her hand (and that must be done very carefully, because of the IV tubes and what-not). I want just to hold her. Actually, I want to jump into bed with her, lie beside her, put my arm underneath her head, and somehow take some of the monotony and discomfort from her. I can't sleep an hour without tossing and turning every which way, and she's been lying on her back hooked up to those machines for the past day and a half, wrestling bouts with nausea, headaches, back pain, and dramatic temperature shifts.
The good news: tomorrow, the doctors hope to start removing drains (tubes)-- certainly the one below her belly button where they extracted the fatty tissue they used to re-line the brain, which is almost completely "dry" now; perhaps one of the 2 drains/ tubes that is hooked into her temple under her dressing as well. And they say they'll gradually start to sit her upright-- inches at a time, with much care and time between movements. The ultimate goal here is to prepare to remove the lumbar drain-- this is a crucial part of her recovery, due to how it could affect that ever-important brain and spinal fluid retention (and the subsequent risk of swelling). She can't leave the Neuro-ICU until the lumbar drain is out. That's the Docs' ultimate goal. Leslie's and my goal is to have her sitting up enough to be able to watch the Colts vs. Patriots tomorrow at 3:30 CST. (Not CDT) (Don't forget to set your clocks back tonight!) Believe it or not, she actually brought that whole thing up before her surgery. She's making me set the DVR tonight, just in case she can't make it through the whole game.
Yes, your (our) prayers are being answered every minute. I'm not the least bit tempted to "slack" now, though. My focus in prayer is gradually progressing from matters of life and death, and on to the minute-by-minute (and eventual long-term) comfort, emotional, and physicall wellness of my wife... for whom I can't do another single thing right now. UGH! I can't wait to be back in there first thing in the morning just to watch her get better again.
To continue to say thank you again to you all for your prayers and support doesn't do justice to the swelling of love I have for all of you right now... but what else can I say? Thank you. I am truly humbled and grateful. And-- excuse my greed-- please keep praying.
Good night. (indeed!)
Saturday, November 3, 2007
The care here is phenomenal. Her nurses, Suzie and Maria, are wonderful and kind and are quick to fill the slightest request. I got a laugh from Leslie when I suggested I'd really have to "step it up" when we got back home, or we just may have to take a couple of these people home with us.
Leslie remembers almost all of our conversation last night, which goes against all of what the doctors had suggested. Although she asked to hear all the details of the surgery again, I think just for reassurance. She's even more responsive this morning than she was last night. Praise God! She can't really open her eyes much due to the swelling, all the tubes and drains and dressings, etc.. but when she does, I definitely see our Leslie in there. And when she musters up the strength to talk, she's full of life, and this is encouraging. In fact, she sends the following message to you all:
"I don't recommend this to anyone. There are better ways to get a face lift." Tyson
Michael Buble has a CD that I love to listen to. They mainly are older songs redone by a younger man. Although, it is not a Christian song nor is the whole song one of importance, but the chorus I keep hearing over and over in my head.
The words go like this.....Cuz, you are not alone....I am always there with you...and we'll get lost together......till the light comes pouring through....
At 2:15 a.m. I wrote in the blog then changed my mind deleted and went back to bed. It is 11:00 a.m. the words are still here and I keep thinking of the love that Tyson and Leslie have for each other and how they have opened their hearts for all of us to read and feel. They have abundantly shared their love for God and faith in him.
I know many of you have shared with me how Tyson and Leslie's writings have made you think more about God, relationships, prayer, and life. Please continue to pray for them. Your support means so much. For those who have asked for their address - it is located in the lower left column on the blog site.
Don't miss an opportunity.....tell someone how much you love them!
The ICU nurse is willing to "flex" a little with the visiting rules. They really don't want me sleeping in the bedside chair, and they insist that the best thing for her is a good night's rest, but they grant us that family support is important to her recovery and are sensititve to the fact it's been a very long day. That said, they're willing to turn a bit of a blind eye to the clock, curfews, time limits, etc...
I talked about all that with Leslie, trying to encourage her to sleep, and she suggested I eventually go home and get some sleep, and that she'd be okay (with the help of a little more morphine) if I'd just come back in the morning. Her mom and dad are in with her right now. I'll go back in after a while to say good night. I wonder if she'll remember any of our conversations in the morning-- or even into the night. I will pray against loneliness and fear all night, even as I sleep-- or half-sleep.
I look forward to sharing her progress with you all in the morning. Until then... sweet morphine-laced dreams, baby doll. And to you all, as well (except for the morphine part). Tyson
Friday, November 2, 2007
You may tell from my slap-happy tone that we've just concluded receiving a series of good bits of news concerning the surgery over the past hour or so.
First Dr. Prabhu came in again when he had finished "closing her up". And then Dr. Zender called me over to the area outside of Recovery to confirm the good news. In the words of Dr. Zender, "The surgery could not have possibly gone any better than it did." The tumor (in all, the size of 3 walnuts) that they extracted did have the same cancer as what the ENT removed a couple weeks ago. HOWEVER, there were "negative" (no-cancer) readings from all the tissue which they removed from around the tumor. The point of biggest concern was/ still is the area behind/above her left eye. Dr. Zender did remove the thin bone (or what the tumor hadn't already worn away) behind her eye-- I believe the bone is called a "pareorbital", or something along those lines. The bone did not APPEAR to have the cancer in it, but they are sending it in for more testing, since it was such a point of concern, initially. But the Doctor was quick to add that he saw no real signs of cancer in what he removed. To re-state what Dr. Prabhu told us during my last entry, things are "clean". And again, (just because I LOVE to read these words roll off my keyboard...), "things could not have gone any better than they did".
What now: She has a post-op CAT scan shortly, (she is still in recovery for the moment) to confirm the success of the surgery. I'll most likely be able to see her once-- maybe twice, in 15 minute segments, with an hour between "visits". She will most likely not be very coherent. They're telling me that ICU (where she will be transported following the CAT scan), closes at 8 or 9, so she may be alone overnight. I need to fight/ confirm this, but that's as it stands for now.
She has a few tiny "plates" which are more like "screws"-- the size of a watchband screw-- which are fusing her cranium back together, where they had opened her up for surgery. She has a "trumpet" (to prevent air getting to her brain) and a feeding tube both in her nostrils, and a "lumbar drain", which they had prepared us for, in her back. This drain is to allow excess cranial/ spinal fluid to leave her body without build-up or brain damage-- which are collectively one of the largest concerns moving forward.
So, it appears to have been a success. The "unknowns" are now fewer, and much more "manageable", but some danger is still lying in the days and nights that await Leslie. We are praying against build-up of this spinal fluid, or improper "settling" of the brain into its proper place, which could both cause brain damage. We are praying against blood clots, which are always a possibility in recovery, especially with this kind of surgery. Praying against fever, air leaking into the cranium/brain, or other similar recovery-relate complications. While these things are all risks, the hospital's best will be monitoring her 24/7 in ICU for the next 4 days, taking all precautions (and swiftly responding if necessary) against these risks. And I'm increasingly confident that God will be faithful to complete this "good work" he started at 6am this morning... complete healing of Leslie from cancer.
I'm tired. I'm wired. I can't wait to go in and see my wife. Thank you all for your prayers which have sustained us over the past week(s) and day(s). As a side note- I hear a word from church that there was a group of people meeting in the church office between 11 and 1 today to pray for the surgery... coincidentally (or more likely, providencially), this was the precise period of time in which the most complicated/ dangerous portion of the surgery was taking place. (And you just read how successful that part of the surgery was.) Another testiment to the power of prayer. "Smarter" people than I may be able to explain such things away as the "laws of nature", "luck", "modern medicine" (which itself is a miracle, in my opinion), and "self-fulfilling prophecy", but we "fools" know better. Please, keep praying! :) And I'll keep the updates coming, as I have anything to offer.
p.s. Dr. Prabhu's summary of how Leslie did/ is doing in/ post-surgery was priceless-- but not surprising to those who know her. His quote: "She did wonderfully. She is an angel."
Everything is progressing according to plan. They're calling me every hour or so. The conversation has been consistently brief and positive. "Just calling to let you know she's doing great!" I ask them to rephrase about 2 or 3 times... I just can't hear those words enough... "She's doing wonderfully," "everything according to plan," etc..., the OR nurse will rephrase, give a reassuring and understanding laugh, and then we'll hang up. So that's the news, for the most part.
Following a 5-mintue pause... and another minute to let out some tears of joy and relief and other mixed emotions... Dr. Prabhu, the Neurosurgeon assisting Dr. Zender, just stopped in to talk to us. The craniotomy and tumor removal have been very "successful". He was just getting ready to "scrub back in to close her up", and re-stated that everything looked very "clean". That (along with his demeanor/ body language) calls for a huge HALLELUJAH! Back in the pre-op consultations, the doctors had often mentioned that things like follow-up treatment and chances of "recurrance" of the cancer were highly reliant upon how "cleanly" the surgery went (that is, how completely it could be removed, how embedded the tumor is into the bone tissue, how much tissue they would have to leave behind due to proximity to critical structures, etc...). SO... to see Dr. Prabhu smile with his eyes half-closed, nod lightly and say softly, "she looks very clean", and then repeat, "it is very clean in there".... again, I say, HALLELUJAH! He's now probably back in "closing her back up" as I finish typing this.
Next update will most likely be when she gets to recovery-- perhaps in another couple of hours...
Thank you all, and praise be to God for his sovereignty and mercy, goodness, and grace displayed in that OR. I'm humbled to consider how easy it is to praise Him upon hearing the good news. I can only hope that our faith will prove equally as strong in the midst of what may face us in the coming hours, days, weeks, and so-on...
We're in the waiting room. (Leslie's mom and sister, and 2 of my "boyz" from church), I got a call an hour ago saying they had "begun", that Leslie was "doing great", and that they would call with hourly updates. I'm not the least bit "freaked" about not having heard from them right on the hour, here... I'm sure if there was something worth updating me on that they would. They hope to be wrapping up the main "surgery" portion of the day around 2 this afternoon-- revovery, etc... to follow.
They wrestled us apart at about 6:30 this morning. We were here a bit before 5:30 for registration. We were quite disappointed to learn that I could not accompany her to her initial anaesthesia. The plan was that I would basically be by her side until she was drugged beyond the point of caring. Didn't quite work that way, so that was an emotional revelation. But we made it through, and she had a determined and peaceful smile on her face by the time we finally parted. I'm holding on to that image of her until I see the same smile on her face in her hospital bed.
Thank you all for your prayer today. I will most likely not post hourly, unless there is "breking news"... so as it is said, in the meantime... "no news is good news". If it is such, I will simply give the "recap" when she comes out of surgery. Tyson
Tyson said that Leslie was very strong and in good spirits when he had to leave her. Please
continue to pray and we will keep you updated as soon as we get calls.