May. 11, 2016

The Progress So Far..

Wow. Talk about an adventure or stressful journey. You can read about surgeries and peoples experiences but you truly never understand until you go through it. My dad chooses not to hear all the possibilities that can go wrong or what people experience when undergoing the Whipple. He knew it was going to be tough. I mean come on, if you have read or watched the youtube videos it’s scary to know that organs will be removed and rerouted. Even after all that no one could have known that the lymph nodes would have cancer all over them. To me, my dad is amazing just for having the courage to embark on this scary, stressful and extremely painful surgery.


Before my parents went down to Louisiana, Brad, my older brother, and my sister-in-law, Cheryl, celebrated Mother’s Day and had people over to their house to celebrate and say good luck to my dad. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend but the video that I saw showed love, fear and strength that everyone felt about this surgery.


On May 5th, Cinco de Mayo, my dad went into surgery at 9:20am and was in there until 7:00pm. It was a long surgery because of many reasons:


-       the surgeon did a thorough job

-       the surgeon took the time to carefully removed the pancreatic tumor that was slightly attached to the artery

-       removed the lymph nodes that had cancerous tumors

-       removed the gallbladder and bile ducts

-       removed 2 tumors from the liver to have biopsied & tested (no results yet)


On May 6th, my dad felt okay. He got up and moved around with help. He has been listening to the directions of the nurses and doctors (surprisingly some patients don’t..they rather lay in bed and not do the things that help move the recovery period along).


May 7th-10th, were very difficult days. Between the incredible pain, no sleep and pain medicine it was a very scary time. My dad was given morphine to help with the pain but he had some back side effects. It made him hallucinate, nauseous, and did not get rid of the pain. He left the ICU on Sunday, May 8 because all tests were showing he was recovering the way he should.


Yesterday, May 10th, we were informed that he has a major infection. The infection has made his white blood cell count over 20,000! Normal (according to google) is about 4,800-10,800. The fear was that something was leaking due to the surgery. Luckily, they did a CT scan yesterday and it shows no leakage and the surgery looks successful. They are trying to figure out where the infection is coming from but my dad believes it is from his bile duct that was removed. His bile duct was filled with infected liquid and when it was removed it sprayed all within his body. Needless to say, they are pumping him with antibiotics.


Today, my dad called me and you wouldn’t be able to tell by his voice he just underwent major surgery. He was happy and finally feeling good! He has been getting sleep and is recovering better than the average person.


He was a little upset that they took his morphine away today and his friend “Betty” (the button you push to administer more morphine when needed). He hasn’t taken any photos while in the hospital but felt it was necessary to take a picture of his nurse, Danielle, taking his morphine away (picture attached). Perhaps, he wants the picture to always remember the good things “Betty” did for him. Haha.


My dad is now waiting for his insides (stomach, colon, etc.) to wake up and start working. When you have surgery like this your insides go to sleep. It is up to them when they want to wake up. It could be a day or two or a week. Until they wake up, he continues to walk to help with recovery and wait to hear the results from biopsies of the liver and pancreatic tumors.


This process is a lot worse than my dad ever thought it would be.  However, I have a feeling he is going to look back and say, “That sucked but it was completely worth it!”


We will let you know when we hear the results from the tumors and when he leaves the hospital. Thank you again for all the kind words and prayers! Your love and support has an amazing impact on his recovery.