We are back home in Tennessee after Courtney’s surgery and our second trip to MD Anderson. I’d like to give you a more detailed update on what happened, and what the next steps on our journey will be.
We flew out of Atlanta late Thursday night, arriving in Houston around midnight. It was a short night, with only 4 hours sleep, before we had to be up and checked in for surgery at 5:30am.
In pre-op we knew they would be taking some blood, to check her electrolytes and other levels. Needle #1. The tech came in to draw blood, and I can honestly say I’ve never seen this process go smoother for Courtney. It was almost instantaneous! The tech did a great job! Courtney hardly felt a thing, and before we knew it, she was done.
Needle #2 was the IV. Again, this went so well. It was a little uncomfortable for her and thankfully had no issues putting it in quickly.
The anesthesiologist began to cover what pain medications they’d be giving her during surgery, as well as afterwards. Courtney quickly explained that most pain medications leave her feeling very sick. She requested no pain medications, saying she’d rather be in pain than nauseous. What a trooper! They did have to give a quick acting dose at the beginning of the surgery in order to intubate her with a breathing tube. Other than that, no narcotics or other strong pains medications were given.
With that, I kissed her goodbye, and they wheeled her off to surgery. I left to eat some breakfast, and find a waiting room. After about two hours I got the call that surgery was complete, and the doctor would be coming out to talk with me shortly.
The doctor and I met briefly. He was very happy with how surgery went. They were able to get all the additional tissue needed, both deeper and around the original site. The procedure did NOT require a skin graft! PTL! They had to shave her head in the area of the incision to do the procedure, and were able to simply close it with standard stitches. They will be in for 7-9 days before being removed.
The tissue will be sent to the pathologists at MD Anderson who will review it and have results as early as Friday of this week. Depending on the pathology results we will have a few different paths. If pathology results show the presence of microscopic cancer cell, in this case we may need to go back for them to remove even more tissue. Radiation is not off the table. If the pathology does not come back clear, we’re likely facing further surgery and/or radiation in terms of further treatment options. If the pathology comes back negative (best case scenario at this point), we’ll move to a monitoring stage where doctors will continue to test and watch for any reappearance. In either scenario, we’ll be headed back in three months for a follow-up, scans and tests.
Post-surgery it took a while for Courtney to wake up, when she finally did I was allowed to come back and visit her in recovery. She was groggy most of the day, and in some pain. She elected not to take any strong pain medicine, and took over the counter Tylenol and Advil to alleviate the pain and swelling.
After she was discharged we went back to the hotel so she could continue to rest and recover. Sunday we flew back into Atlanta and drove home. Since being home she has been OK. The swelling has increased some, and the doctors say it is normal. It may even get worse over the next couple of days before it gets better. She continues to take Advil or Tylenol as needed for pain. She had a rough night sleeping the first night home, but has done better since then. She’s resting during the day well.
Going forward we ask for your prayers concerning the results we expect this Friday. We’re praying for GREAT NEWS! Please continue to pray for a smooth and comfortable recovery at home. Courtney is doing as well as can be expected at this point.
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. We will keep you updated when we know more.
-Adam & Courtney