Our parents made it safely to Maryland yesterday evening about 7:00. Before they left, we all sang "Through It All" with Daddy playing the piano, just as we have done for about as long as I can remember. Believe me, it was tough to say goodbye, but we got through it. Last evening a bad storm hit - extreme winds, power shortages, and downed trees. Needless to say, it didn't help our first night any, and we woke up more tired than when we went to bed!
Aunt Windy and Uncle Chris will be spending the next few days down there with Mom and Dad, and Aunt Windy will be sending us updates from her computer. We received two e-mails from her today and will post them here:
8:00 Boarded the shuttle van from the hotel to Johns Hopkins. (We had to tell them which entrance we wanted, because the Johns Hopkins complex is comprised of numerous buildings covering several blocks.)
8:20 Arrived at the Caroline (Outpatient) Entrance and after a brief discussion at a preliminary desk were directed to a lower level for admitting. At that desk he learned that he first needed to go to another building to take care of some financial matters. A nice lady led us back up a different elevator, down some long halls, up a couple escalators and down another hall. At that office Shirley, whom Doug had spoken with on the phone before coming to Maryland, met him and took care of the paperwork.
9:15 Shirley led us back down the escalator, corridors, etc. and tried to send us up to the fourth floor. Fortunately we remembered that the people on the lower level said we needed to come back there. So, we thanked Shirley for her help and went back downstairs. There Doug had more paperwork to complete.
9:45 Doug and Ethel were called in for a briefing on what is ahead.Dr. Cameron has done more of these procedures than anyone else in the world.The average surgery time is 10-12 hours, but for Dr. Cameron it is 6-8 hours.Dr. Cameron usually does these surgeries in the cancer center, but because he did not want to wait for an opening, so he is doing it in one of the surgery units in the main hospital.While Doug had read that surgery cannot be completed for 40-60% of patients with this condition, this has happened in only 5 out of the 200 surgeries Dr. Cameron has done this year.They will give us updates about every 90 minutes during the surgery.As he is recovering, Doug will have about five tubes including a catheter and a tube running from his neck to the surgical area for drainage, etc..Doug will have a private room.Doug will be up walking the day after surgery, and it is important for him to be up and walking a lot during the days following surgery to keep him from getting blood clots and to get his system working normally again.The hospital stay should be 8-10 days. Then he should stay here in the hotel for 3-4 days.11:15 With the orientation completed, we headed up to the fourth floor for a chest x-ray.12:00 Back down to the first floor for blood work.Everybody has been very helpful and good at explaining things.The hospital has a (somewhat slow) wireless Internet connection. I cannot send/receive email normally, but if you receive this, it will mean I was able to do so in a somewhat convoluted way.
We just got back to the hotel. Here’s the news for the rest of the day.
The 12:00 “blood work” I mentioned in the last email was also an EKG.
1:40 finished downstairs and went up to the seventh floor for a 2:00 appointment with Dr. Cameron
2:00 We (all four of us) went into an exam room to wait for Dr. Cameron. While we were waiting Doug and Ethel told us a few more things they found out earlier.
The biopsy they will take on the lymph nodes won’t be conclusive for 5 days.
The incision will be from the bottom of the breastbone to just below the navel.
During the first 48 hours after surgery Doug will have a morphine pump to administer his own pain killer. (They have it set so he can’t overdose.) After the pump is removed he will need to ask for pain medicine when he wants it.
2:15 Dr. Cameron came in.
He asked Doug about his medical history.
He said Dough will be in intensive care overnight. The next day they will move him to a room where he will stay for 6-8 days. When he gets out he needs to stay in the area for 3 or 4 more days.
He said that Doug is healthy and should sail right through the surgery without a problem. However, he did caution that while 90% of the time when the tests have shown that the tumor is clear of the blood vessels (which is what Doug’s have shown), those test results are correct. 10% of the time it does not turn out to be, and in that case they cannot to the surgery as planned.
He said that he will come talk to us in the waiting room when the surgery it done.
They will know the results of the biopsy when Doug wakes up. (This must be the biopsy of the tumor given what they were told about lymph nodes above.)
Doug said to be sure to tell you that he is very encouraged after meeting and talking with Dr. Cameron.
Since, we heard from Dad after our earlier email, we know it went through. So, we should be able to send you updates tomorrow with that method and plan to do so each time we get an update during surgery. Assuming the surgery starts as planned at 7:30, I hope we may have an update out to you by 9:30.
We plan to leave for the hospital at 5:00 tomorrow to have Doug there before 5:30. We will drive our car rather than taking the shuttle and park at the hospital for the day.
We will be talking to our parents about 4:45 tomorrow before they leave for the hospital. Our last farewells before the surgery....
We will be posting updates as we get them so keep checking. Tomorrow is the day when Daddy will need the most prayer . I told Dad last night not to worry about about the surgery because yes, he does have the best Whipple surgeon in the world, but more importantly he has the Greatest Physician watching over him. With God guiding the surgeons hand, there is no such thing as mistake. Everything that God allows to come into our lives are apart of the bigger plan he has for us, and whatever that plan is, he gives us strength to endure.
Before I close I want to leave you all with the words of the song we sang together just before they left. I took a video of it but Mom has the camera so you'll have to wait until another time to see it. Needless to day it was hard to get through singing it! (This was also the song that I found opened to on the piano when we got back home from camp - the day we found out that Daddy had a tumor.) Here are the words...
" I've had many tears and sorrows, I've had questions
for tomorrow, There've been times I didn't know right from
wrong: But in every situation God gave blessed consolation
That my trials come to only make me strong.
I thank God for the mountains, And I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through; For if I'd never
had a problem I wouldn't know that He could solve them, I'd never know
what faith in God could do.
Through it all, through it all, I've learned to trust in Jesus, I've learned
to trust in God; Through it all, through it all, I've learned to
depend upon His Word. "
In His love,
Elizabeth, Evangeline and Emily
Monday, September 15, 2008
Posted by The Canfield Family at 7:12 PM