I first want to apologize that everyone was left hanging yesterday afternoon. The servers that host this blog were down yesterday afternoon through late last night and I was unable to post an update.
The surgery ended up lasting right at 12 hours. Dr. Foster visited us in the waiting room around the 8th hour to say that they had completed the cancer removal and it was very good news. They were able to remove all visible cancer from her abdominal cavity. Although there was a lot of disease spread throughout - even more than all the scans had shown over the past several months - it wasn't anything they couldn't handle. As far as effected organs, they ended up removing 30% of her colon, 20% of her small intestine, a lymph node near the colon, her appendix, a portion of her omentum (a protective, fatty "sheet" that drapes over the intestines), and both of her ovaries. Dr. Foster admitted that their success suprised him and prior to surgery they had real concerns about being able to get all of the visible cancer. The only bit of bad news was that the nodules on her liver do seem to be cancer. We were already aware that she had some superficial spots, but the two that were thought to be cysts now need to be treated as cancer. They did nothing with the liver due to concerns that extensive liver work would create potential complications that she really didn't need to deal with right now. However, these spots have been there since she was first diagnosed and have not grown or spread. Her favorable reaction to her chemo treatments the past 3 months leads them to believe that the additional chemo following her recovery could be all she needs to clear things up. If that isn't the case, another surgery may be necessary or they could use other methods such as radiofrequency ablation (cutting the tumor out with radio waves of a certain frequency).
Her abdomen was flooded with a 2 hour infusion of heated chemo and then the doctors went back in and tidied everything up. Around 8:30 PM Dr. Loggie stopped in the waiting room. The man is nothing short of a genius and to have him say that things went very well was such a relief. He is a man of few words, but what he said was very comforting: "We caught a break today...Jennifer deserved a break...I am very pleased." He also told us in a matter-of-fact tone that the liver is very treatable and they'll take care of it. Shortly after, Dr. Foster stopped back in with a smile and said that the respirator was removed and she was being moved to ICU. Needless to say, we gave him a standing ovation and lots of thank you's.
Right around 9:00 PM I nervously stepped into the ICU. Considering what she had endured, Jen looked fantastic. She was alert and smiling. She's hooked up to a PCA (patient controlled analgesia) pump of morphine and able to control her own pain. The ICU nurses are excellent and at least through Friday she'll receive one on one care. Jan and Dennis both visited briefly with her also, and they agreed that she looked great. Even with the extensive amount of surgery she had, the nurses mentioned that they will attempt to get her out of bed on Wednesday to move around.
I brightened Jen's evening by telling her that everyone back at home was keeping up on what was going on and the blog had over 1000 hits during the course of her surgery. That's amazing!