Friday, May 15, 2015

Surgery Day

Today was surgery day to remove the chemo-shrunken tumor from Lila's abdomen. It was the size of a grapefruit when we discovered it on February 2nd. Today it was like a large chicken egg.

Attempting a smile, though neither of us was feeling it.

Everything went really well! Lila charmed her surgical team before the procedure, and they drove her to the OR via Cosy Coupe. She went in smiling.

The blur

Her surgeon said the tumor was "gnarly" and was sticking to a few important structures. But he was able to remove it all and it doesn't seem to have permanently affected anything important. Kidneys good. Ovaries good. Ureter good. She lost a little blood during the procedure but not enough to warrant a transfusion. We expect a full recovery.

She slept for 30 minutes after. Upon waking she wanted to cuddle with a friendly member of the pain team. She then dozed on mama's lap for another hour while they readied her room and got her unplugged from everything. Because they're using an epidural to control her abdominal pain, they could use less general anesthetic and she was sharp and alert within a few hours.

Once we were safe in the room, her usual stubborn personality came roaring back, which we were relieved to see. She asked for food at least a hundred times, which was difficult because she can't have anything by mouth for 1-2 more days. She sat up in bed and worked on Play-Doh. She Facetimed with her cousins, played with some apps, and was asleep by 8pm.

Post-surgery Play-Doh chef.

Next Steps

Recovery at Vandy over the weekend. Hopefully lots of sleep.

They biopsied some nearby lymph nodes and also sent a tumor sample to pathology, which will help determine her upcoming course of radiation and follow-up chemo to knock out any remaining cancer cells. Radiation will likely begin in two weeks and run for 7 consecutive days. (Side note: The Duncans are no strangers to this wonder of the atomic age. My dad and granddad both worked many years at the Oak Ridge National Lab, and I did two rounds of radioactive iodine a few years ago for my thyroid.)

Special Thanks

We were feeling more than a little jangled going into today. "Like a bundle of nerves," Sarah said. 50-yard stares for weeks. Our church set up a schedule so that someone would be praying for us and Lila all day, and we know there were many prayers and good vibes coming from elsewhere too. So many! Thank you guys for everything.

And what a great team at Vandy Children's Hospital. We don't thank them enough here on the blog. We can't thank them enough. They are a rare combination of professional and wicked smart but also compassionate and just goofy enough to put Lila at ease. Really impressive group of people and they're right here in town.

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