Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Alright folks, I’m late posting.  Here’s the update:

The surgery was successful.  They removed the tumor, which was enveloped around one kidney (which was also removed.)  That kidney was the only organ they removed, thank God.    They also laid what is called a HAM grid over the surgical site, internally.  The HAM grid is a net made of small catheters. (Think of it as a city street map.)  The radiation oncologist decides which of the catheter routes (s)he will use to specifically direct the radiation to where it needs to go.  The catheters exit the body near the surgical site.  Laying the grid didn’t take very long at all.  About 5 or 6 last night, they moved Mom into a regular room.

This morning, they were scheduled to run a simulation of the radiation treatments through the grid.  When they got her to oncology, they discovered that the external end of the catheters was contaminated with bodily fluid, the source/reason why of which is still uncertain.  One CT scan later, they decided that Mom would need surgery again to remove the current catheters and put new ones in place.  The earliest open OR is tomorrow, but they are trying to get her in today.  I gather that this is one decision where we won’t know until they come to get her, so look to the twitter feed for up-to-date info on that one.

Mom is in a lot of pain, and had the nurse call Dad about 5 AM.  They met with the pain management folks and got that figured out.  She is getting some anti-anxiety meds also, which will help Mom a lot. 
One of the problems is that Mom deals with pain through a lot of meditation and breathing exercises.  But right now, her lungs are packed with towels around them, as part of the surgery / radiation / surgery plan.  So, she can’t breathe deep, and it’s keeping her tense.  Thus, anti-anxiety meds to the rescue. 

Another difficulty for Mom is that she knows that she won’t be able to get out of the bed until Friday at the earliest.  She wants to be moving, and being pushed around in the bed doesn’t count.

The rest of us are okay.  Yesterday was a long day for all of us.  Dad, Mags, & I had been up since 3 or 4, so when we got back to the room about 7 last night, we crashed.  Dad came back over about 5:30 AM, but Mags & I didn’t make it back until 8:45.

Also, if you want to cheer Mom up with a card, you can mail it to:
Cleveland Clinic
[mom's name] 
Care of H71-24
9500 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44195

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