Here we are, on the other side of Kerry’s surgery. We are learning a new normal for our family.
His surgery went well overall. It was longer than expected and let me tell you…as the one in the waiting room…it felt like eternity. I had been calm and collected leading up to the surgery until that morning when we pulled out of our driveway. It gravity of the surgery became heavier than it had been previously.
I was so thankful for my friends working in the OR and taking care of Kerry. It was easier to see him wheeled out knowing who was caring for him. The surgery itself took about 6 hours and was a bit more complicated than the surgeon initially expected. He said it was the lowest anterior (front) resection (removing) they’ve ever done. The doctor said he felt like we made the right decision to go ahead with surgery because of how the tumor had grown and that it was through the wall of the colon when he removed it. Kerry spent the first couple of days in ICU for closer monitoring and came home on Sunday this last week.
He is finding a new normal with the ileostomy (lay terms=poop bag). We have to be careful of the foods he eats, especially here at first, to keep from causing a blockage. It’s a mental adjustment for him too. There are things that you just don’t think of until you have an ostomy. The plan is that he will have this temporarily while his colon heals from the surgery and while he does clean up chemo. The goal will then be to “reconnect” again in 6-8 months (hopefully before then end of 2019).
He had 19 lymph nodes and removed bowel section were sent to pathology. We met with our oncologist yesterday. He was happy (and very shocked) to report that all 19 lymph nodes were clear and that it looks like the entirety of the tumor was removed with surgery. To say we were elated would be an understatement. The oncologist said more than once he was surprised at the response to the chemo and radiation. He still recommends clean up chemo for 4 months (probably starting in July) because the tumor was through the bowel wall and the risk of spreading was still there.
Kerry’s journey is far from over and we have a hill to climb yet, but for now, we take a breath and thank God for wonderful friends and miraculous answered prayers.
Psalm 5:11 English Standard Version (ESV)
11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.