28 May 2011

Time has flown

...and so much has happened!

At the end of April, Mom had her scans done to see what was going on with the tumor in her pancreas. At the beginning of May, she met with her team of doctors and they determined that she was strong enough to go through surgery and recovery. However they did not know when the surgery would be done and only had about a 2 week window in which to do said surgery (due to when she finished her radiation and chemo treatments). The surgeon asked if he called one day would Mom be ready the next for surgery. She said she'd like to have this done by her birthday (May 18th). He said that he could do that for her.

We found out the Friday before Mother's Day that Mom's surgery would be scheduled for the Monday after Mother's Day. So we switched our plans around for Mother's day (because Mom couldn't eat anything solid after breakfast). We went to Bonefish Grill and had about an hour wait. Entertaining DJP was exhausting because all he wanted to do was walk up and down the sidewalk in front of all the stores and restaurants. He also made quite a few friends with his quick smile and wave. (Yes, DJP is walking...he started the week of his birthday with a few tentative steps here and there-much faster if you had a cellphone in your hand though and is now extremely confident and doesn't need to hold on to anything or anyone.)

On the day of the surgery, Chris, Tom and I went to be with her. We waited a long time for them to even take her back to get ready for the surgery but once they did things went quickly. We got to walk with her and the anesthesiologists until the elevators to the waiting area. The surgery was supposed to take about 6 hours however the surgeon was out talking to us in less than 5 because there were no complications and there wasn't a need for any blood transfusions (which the surgeon thought he would definitely have to do). While the doctor was talking with us, he was bouncy/giddy because of how well the surgery went and how well Mom did. Chris and I got to see her about an hour later. Her first question to us (still coming out of the anesthesia) was "Is is snowing?" Chris and I busted out laughing and the nurse just looked at us like we were crazy. We explained to her that Mom had been in the hospital in December and she was remembering that.

The day after surgery, I went to see Mom after work and found her sitting up in a chair with color in her face! Not what I was expecting after the gallbladder surgery! Each day she got better and surprised everyone, even the physical therapist because he thought he was going to have to help her out of bed and she did it all by herself! Jason and I took DJP to visit his Grandma on Friday for an hour or so. He did really well-definitely enjoyed pushing the buttons on the hospital bed that make it go up and down! By Saturday of that week, Mom had one of the drains removed, was off of some of her medicine and walking circles around the hospital floor that she was on (at her speed, not mine!). Before I left to see her that Sunday, she called to ask for me to bring a few items to her and that the team was still thinking about letting her go home on Monday. An hour later, I got to the hospital found Mom getting ready to go for a walk and she says, "I can go home today." Let's get everything together and make that happen. After all the paperwork was taken care of and Mom's stuff was all together, the nurse said she could wait for a wheelchair or walk out of her own accord. Mom said she could walk, so she did. She came home with me.

She's now at home and has seen the doctor again. She had the staples removed and was given the report on her surgery and the pathology of the cancer. I have not seen the reports yet myself, but Mom said that the tumor was 4.3cm and still had a few live cells. Some of the lymph nodes tested positive and the pathologist recommended more chemo and radiation. However the surgeon doesn't know what to radiate since there is no more tumor and is not concerned about the lymph nodes. Mom will meet again with the team later in June to see what happens next. She will be able to drive again in about a week and is supposed to resume her normal activities at once! All is good at this point! Many, many, many thanks to the team at UMMC and thank God for Dr. Alexander's steady hands during surgery! The team made life a bit easier during this difficult time for my family as did so many others who I will never be able to thank enough for their love, support and time.