Friday, October 1, 2010

Surgery Details

William: "Stop torturing and annoying me! Sit on your chair and leave me alone."

Me to nurse: "At least he started talking." (chuckle, chuckle) "The morphine will kick in in a few minutes, right?"

The nurse and I just gently repositioned William to help ward off bed sores and pneumonia. It was obviously not appreciated by William. He is slowly on the mend, but slowly is the key word. Today's goals feel lofty, but we have them nonetheless: Try to sit up, remove epidural, get off oxygen, work on removing bandage from incision to let it air out.

I talked to the surgeon in more detail about the surgery during her daily rounds and this is what I learned:
  • She takes neuroblastomas a bit personal because they are so hard to remove and she refuses to let them beat her. (That's my kind of surgeon!!!)
  • The tumor was about the size of a softball which included the kidney and adrenal gland.
  • It was removed in one piece.
  • She usually takes a picture, but didn't because she was so exhausted and ready for it to be sent it off to pathology. She'll check with the pathologist to see if he took any pictures.
  • She saw a lot of William's insides. She went all the way to his spine as a portion of it was attached to the muscles around the spine. She saw his liver, pancreas, spine, stomach, spleen, intestines.... This basically means there was a lot of moving things around which easily explains the painful recovery involved.
  • There wasn't much tumor left to be removed around the aorta and other major arteries. (huge blessing for the complications that can create in surgery)
Otherwise, we are all holding up. Ryan's dad arrived on Wednesday afternoon to take over from my sister. He'll be staying until next Saturday. We hope to be heading home around then or soon after, having also completed round 6 of chemo. Trying to plan just a few days in advance is a constant reminder of how little control we have right now. But we're used to it.

By the way, I failed to mention sooner that the month of September was Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I'm more aware than I thought I'd ever be and this is a good thing. I think it's fitting to recognize that William made a large tumor donation to childhood cancer research for neuroblastoma on September 29, 2010!


  1. Julie,
    I just have to say that you guys are absolutely amazing in how you have waged this battle with such strength and grace--you all are truly inspiring. I said to Lisa when this all started that if anyone deserves a miracle, it was you guys. I am so glad to hear that this very big hurdle has been crossed successfully. And on a somewhat unrelated note: I love the new look of the blog, it's so peaceful, and the new photos are great. William looks like he's grown a few inches taller since I've seen him. Hoping for a quick recovery for Will, and a peaceful weekend for your family.
    Much love,
    Suzanne & co.

  2. Julie,
    Hooray for a successful surgery! Your family has been in our prayers. Give William a hug from us back here in MD.
    Julianne Smoot (Paige's sister)

  3. jules i just keep thinking... i think Heavenly Father had everything to do with the fact that your surgeon was switched out last min. i'm sure that He knew that this surgeon was meant to perform this surgery on william (and not the other doc) to obtain the optimal results. i just think there was no coincidence here.
    love you. praying for williams recovery. xoxoox
    ps- the ocean backdrop is very peaceful :)

  4. Are they going to make it into a zipper? (gotta keep a little humor going ...) Love, Grandpa John