For anyone who knows me, knows I love to have a good plan. A goal to work towards, something to prepare for and anticipate. For the moment, we have a line up of next appointments, procedures, scans and surgery date. We also know from previous experience that nothing is set in stone and one appointment is dependent on another and the results from the test before it.
Our current plan looks like this:
Kerry has a procedure on May 6 to look at the tumor site and tattoo it so that it can be seen easily on the outside of the colon wall when they go in to do surgery. Who knew you could tattoo a colon? I didn’t until this week and it doesn’t sound comfortable.
May 9 is his next CT scan. They will be scanning his chest, abdomen and pelvis. There was a spot on his lung they felt was benign on his initial scans but they want to be sure there haven’t been any changes. Our prayer is that this spot is gone or completely unchanged.
May 16 is the big surgery date. The surgeon is planning to remove the remaining part of the tumor, area around it and the surrounding lymph nodes. We are hoping this can be accomplished laproscopically because it will be an easier recovery for Kerry. The surgeon has told us that the lower in the colon/rectum the tumor, the harder it is to accomplish the surgery laproscopically. Kerry’s tumor is low and the surgeon has said if he needs to open Kerry up to gain better access he will.
The surgery will last several hours and we are hopeful that the surgeon will be able to get clear margins without going into the circular muscles around it. If he has to go into those muscles, the likelihood of a permanent colostomy goes up. We are praying they can remove the tumor and get clear margins without the need for a permanent colostomy. Kerry will likely stay in the hospital for 4-5 days and then be off work for several weeks during recovery.
We did learn this week that Kerry will have a temporary ileostomy after surgery (HERE is some good information about what that is). He will have the ileostomy for the months he is on clean up chemo and for about a month after he is done. Assuming all goes well he would have reversal surgery (putting everything back) in November or December of this year. It was pretty discouraging to be honest. We had hoped that he wouldn’t need one. Because radiated tissue doesn’t heal as well and to minimize the chance of complications, it is best to give the remaining bowel rest while it heals. The ileostomy means that when Kerry goes back to work he will likely be on light duty for several months and perhaps until the reversal is complete.
We continue to rejoice in the blessings and goodness of God through this. I have been keeping a journal of the notes, acts of kindness and how God has supernaturally provided for our family thus far. We’ve rejoiced as God has provided answers to prayers and met needs we didn’t know we had. We continue to cling to Him in times of uncertainty, in times when our plans change and when we hear discouraging news. We pray that God will be glorified and that we can be faithful witnesses to His goodness.
Ways that you can specifically pray in the coming weeks:
- Pray for the surgeon and healthcare team that will be taking care of Kerry during his surgery and hospital stay. Specifically that the surgeon will be able to get clear margins without the need for a permanent colostomy.
- Pray for Kerry’s upcoming scans. That they will be clear.
- Pray for our family as we prepare for Kerry’s surgery and time off. That we will be good stewards of our time between now and then. Our children have been amazingly resilient and we’ve been very open with them about cancer, surgery and what to expect. Pray though, that we can spend our time well with them. That we can show them God’s goodness and our reason for hope in Him.
- Continue to pray that we will be sensitive for opportunities to share the gospel with those we encounter along the way. We have hope and peace in what lies ahead because of what Christ has done for us. We know others don’t always understand or have this same hope but that we have been given a unique opportunity…pray we use it well.
As always, thank you. Thank you for praying with us and for us. May God be glorified in all we think, say and do.