I have more good news to report: John came home from the hospital this afternoon! He has two drainage bags still attached to his abdomen, but they look practically empty. Eventually, his home care nurse will remove them. In the meantime she’ll be checking on him daily.
The surgeon who checked in on John this morning was concerned that his abscess had not been drained yet. He said that Monday was way too long to wait and he would definitely push for it today.
Just to give a bit of background, when they insert the tubes through his skin to drain the infected fluid from his abdomen, they use medical imaging for guidance. Apparently the CT scan machine that they normally use was undergoing maintenance, but by using ultrasound instead, they were able to do the procedure this morning. Thank You, Lord! What an answer to prayer. John came back to his room to find lunch waiting for him: jello, broth and orange juice.
It may take a few days for the abscess to be fully drained. By this evening, John said that his pain had already started to subside a little. We still haven’t heard when exactly he will be able to come home, but at least we are one step closer to that happening.
I know our church was lifting us up in prayer last night at the weekly prayer meeting, and many others were praying as well, so thank you! I’m so grateful to the brothers and sisters in Christ who have brought us meals and helped in practical ways (you know who you are). Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus.
Today was Maggie’s birthday, by the way. Daisy’s was last week, and thankfully John was still at home then. Although he didn’t get to be with us in person today, he still joined in watching her open her present and blow out her candles via FaceTime. She was a very happy three-year-old. All in all, it was a very good day.
John wasn’t able to have the drains put in today. Unfortunately, unless there is a cancellation, he won’t be able to get them until Monday. At least his pain is under control and he is able to rest. His fever that he had last night is gone too. They moved him to the inpatient surgery unit this morning and are keeping him on a diet of ice chips so he will be ready just in case there is a spot to fit him in. Thanks for all your messages of encouragement and prayers. They mean a lot. Please pray that God will make a way for him to get the procedure he needs, that Lord-willing he can come home to us sooner rather than later.
John seemed to be doing so well last week, but over the past couple days the pain in his belly increased unbearably. Tonight, an emergency CT scan revealed that he has a 12-inch abscess in his abdomen, something that the ER doctor said tends to present itself around this time, two weeks post-surgery. It basically means that a great deal of pus is accumulating in his belly as his immune system mobilizes to fight infection. The pressure from the pus is causing his pain. Tomorrow they will drain it and likely give him antibiotics. He will have to stay in the hospital for four to five days. While I can’t say we’re thrilled about this, it is a relief to know the cause of his sudden severe pain and that they can fix it soon. I’m also thankful that he didn’t have to wait very long in the ER this afternoon. He went in around 2 and had the CT scan around 7:30. In the meantime, he got to be in a private room with his own bathroom and they gave him morphine to cope with the pain. The kids and I got to FaceTime him while we ate our supper (still no visitors allowed obviously). Please keep us in your prayers as we get through the rest of this week!
I know many of you were praying for John today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! His surgery got delayed by over two hours, and when he woke up about two more hours after that, he texted me to say, “I am alive.” What a welcome message that was. He was able to call and say hi to the kids too. Since visitors are still not allowed at the hospital right now, I’m glad we can stay connected through our phones. Tonight he was tired and in a bit of pain, but otherwise “great,” eating jello and drinking clear liquids. Lord willing, he should be discharged in a few days once he is eating a normal diet and his bowels start functioning again. Our daughters both have birthdays coming up in the next couple of weeks (turning 5 and 3) so it would be the best present of all to have Daddy home. Whatever happens, I know we remain in God’s hands, and as always we are immeasurably grateful for your prayers.
“Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” Psalm 33:22 ESV
For the surgeon to be able to reverse my ostomy I needed to have two tests done: a sigmoidoscopy and a gastrograph. Here is a brief summary of my experience during each procedure.
My sigmoidoscopy was awesome! Well, except for the fact that I had a camera stuffed up my bottom. The doctor made sure I was able to see the camera screen as he gave me a guided tour of my sigmoid colon. It was really neat to watch, especially the beginning. I saw the outside of my bottom and then the next second he was navigating the camera through my colon. (Check YouTube if you are curious. I didn’t notice a “share” button on the camera screen.) Unlike a colonoscopy, they don’t usually sedate you for a sigmoidoscopy since they aren’t going too far inside the colon, so it was a little more unpleasant than a colonoscopy. The doctor didn’t see any issues preventing me from reversing my ostomy which means I passed test #1.
My gastrograph was not as “fun” as the sigmoidoscopy. Instead of a camera, they shoved a hose up my bum which was held in place by inflating a balloon on the end. They then proceeded to inject dye inside of me and take x-rays to check for leaks. While not the most pleasant of tests, my nurse was one of the nicest and friendliest ones I have ever had. (I actually have yet to meet a mean nurse, at least in K-W.)
I met with the surgeon to go over the test results on July 3. I passed both tests and signed the consent form for him to stuff my stoma back inside. He also took a look at my previous CT scans. This time when he was scrolling through my scans I actually could understand the majority of what he was saying and pointing out due to my hours of studying my own scans. He showed me my first scan from January 2019, and I could easily see all the “shadows” all over my liver which now appear to have mostly disappeared or calcified (my diagnosis, not the doctor’s).
I was originally told that the surgeon has about 100 patients ahead of me and it could take 6 months to get the surgery booked, but someone cancelled. My ostomy surgery is booked for July 28. The procedure sounds simple enough; the surgeon just pulls out my stoma, hooks it back up and then shoves it back in. I should be in the hospital 2-3 days, or using my last surgery as precedent that would be about 11 days.
Since I have the surgery booked I am officially on a break from chemotherapy until at least the middle of August when I next meet with my oncologist.
I will be meeting with my naturopathic doctor as well to see if we can prolong my chemo break with naturopathy. The longer I can avoid chemo the longer it has the potential to work and the longer I get to live.
The next post will likely be from Leanne as she will be sure to post an update after my surgery.
that the operation will go well and there will be no complications, unlike last time.
for Leanne as she will be taking care of 3 kids and a dog while I am in the hospital.
P.S. Toe is looking better. Still not quite healed but I expect my healing to improve dramatically now that I am off chemo.