TLB is gone! along with all the lymph nodes remotely close, and her ovaries, but the little bastard is gone! Surgery went smoothly, they were able to remove everything using the robot, they did have to go in to sew everything back together, but that is A-Okay. She has a 3 or 4 inch incision along her c-section scar and 5 or 6 little incisions from the robot. the total surgery lasted 8 and a half hours, and we wont get to see her for another 2, for now, we're all catching up on some much needed sleep. Thank you all for all of the thoughts, prayers, facebook posts, comments, texts, calls, and messages. They worked wonders. I'll let my mom give you all the little details i missed later. On to the final round!
10:00 update; Everything is going smoothly, the surgery is predicted to last 8 hours. So far they have been able to use the robotics, which is good! If they can't use the robotics they will make an incision from her chest to her waist line. From what I know they haven't actually removed any tissue yet, but they've still got plenty of time to do that! The next update should be around 12:00, until then you can find me and Laura raiding the frozen yogurt bar!
Hey all! Barb left me (Anna, the oldest daughter) in charge of the blog today, so bear with me through any spelling or grammar errors! Mom left the hotel room this morning to head over to MD Anderson bright eyed and bushy tailed for surgery prep at 5 am! She should be well into surgery now, they started at 7.She says she's ready for this part of the journey to be over but she is scared (probably more than she'll admit) about what comes after, just like the rest of us here with here with. MDA will have a nurse come out every even hour to let the family know how she is doing and where they're at, I'll try to get another post out every check in and when she's out. I can't thank you all enough for your thoughts prayers and actions over the past few months, it's a great feeling to know we have this much support behind us the whole way through! See you again in a few hours!
You all have been WONDERFUL for me. I've been able to indulge in a little venting, wallowing, irreverency and what ever else comes along in my brain. You all have listened patiently, and when I've needed it, offered up good things for my soul and the occasional kick in the pants, which is also good for the soul. It has helped me work through this and has been invaluable. So, I'm running along as I said, and knowing that you all are offering up positive thoughts and encouraging words in response to my whiny FB post while I'm sweating and panting away on the trail. I knew you all would pick up on my unwritten "whole Barb" lament and you would point out that there is (rightly) more to me than a stupid tumor.
And then I had one of those laugh out loud moments like I described back in my 2nd or 3rd blog post. I laughed out loud because in paraphrasing you guys and the much-needed peptalk you'd give me, my brain said this:
Barb, you're so much more than a rectum.
Then my mind started reworking the phrase, laughing to myself after my initial out-loud guffaw. Things like
Thanks for going along on the run and helping me work it through. See you tomorrow on the other side. As someone put it this morning, hello Barb 2.0.
I arrived back here in Houston Sunday, April 19 for a whole ream of appointments ahead of Friday's surgery. I am officially back in that time-warp known as MD Anderson where time drags in the moment but entire days disappear without me knowing it. So far, two days have dragged/disappeared. Yesterday (Monday), I had CT and MRI scans along with blood work. Today (Tues), I met with my lead doc, surgeon Dr. Rodriguez-Bigas, and we took a look at what TLB has been up to since we last saw his ugly face. And in that most rare of blog posts, I'm going to make this short and sweet. I (you) hope.
TLB appears to be about half his former size, but still precariously close to the anus. Doc wouldn't say, but my money's on a 50/50 chance at saving it (the anus, not TLB). Even if they save it, there's not enough margin to use the stapler. What does that mean, you ask? Fortunately for you, I asked too. It means the reconnection of the colon to the anus will have to be done with hand stitches, which means much more collateral tissue damage. I still have one definite hot lymph node out of the 3 original, but of course they will take all of those and a dozen more for safety. In light of the modest regression, this means traditional chemo afterwards, so Mary Ann - the P-POP (Pray for Pill Over Port) campaign is probably out.
Tomorrow (Wednesday), I meet with the robotic surgeon, Dr. Nancy You. My lead doc says she'll be the boss in the operating room, as long as robotics are how we're proceeding. If they have to open me up all the way, Dr. R-B will take over. I don't expect anything earth-shattering at her evaluation tomorrow; in my mind, I was most anxious for the read on the scans and I have those now. Joe, the girls and my Mom & Dad arrive early on Thursday with the surgery first thing Friday morning. And with that, we are through with today's headlines,
In other news, the weather is GORGEOUS. I have been on 2 runs and plenty of walks. I decided since I started the first trip down here with a run, the 2nd one should start the same way. Lots of outdoor exercise. I'm going to have to figure out a way to get my hospital bed outside come Saturday.
I'm about to pack up and walk over to Rice Village for cocktails and dinner and some people watching. I am really glad to be back down here and taking action against TLB. In the words of Inigo Montoya (again?!), prepare to die!
Well, I have been remiss, my friends. I was so excited to get home, that I didn't do an update on how I'm doing. Somehow, I guess you were supposed to just intuit my overall well-being. Oops. So I'm (finally) here to say...
I have to say, this is the worst it's been, attitude-wise. Before, I had the job of lining things out - making decisions and figuring out with Joe what we were going to do. Done. Then I had my time down in Houston. Going in each day for a treatment, assorted Dr. appointments, taking my chemo and keeping up with all of that. I was doing concrete things to improve my chances of my best outcome and now those items are all complete. Now I'm just waiting to see what was accomplished, which feels like limbo. Looming large in front of me are events that will forever change my day-to-day life and every decision I make from here on out. Like having a child, but in a different, not entirely positive way. I find myself now in inexplainably bad moods, getting mad about things that normally wouldn't bother me and lashing out in ways that aren't deserved.
The good thing about procrastinating on posting this (it's been "under construction" for weeks) is that as we've drawn closer to the date, the wait is almost over and my mood is much better. I am R-E-A-D-Y. Yesterday.
I leave Sunday, April 19 for Houston. Joe, Anna and Laura Cate arrive on the morning of April 23 along with my parents. Joe, the girls and my Dad will leave on Sunday, April 26. I'll be in the hospital in for 4-7 days then need to stay in Houston for 7 days after they kick me out. Mom and I will stay together at the Rotary House which is attached to MD Anderson and quite nice. We're sharing a room. Hopefully, Mom will not kill me after fetching for me in a hotel room for a week and we'll return together sometime around May 6 or 8.
Until then, I continue to be the beneficiary of many kind words, prayers, gifts and love. I really and truly am doing well. I don't feel like anything is wrong, which is great, but kind of spooky in a way. I'm walking, running, working (well, what I think will pass for work and keep everyone off my back!), enjoying life and all of the normal stuff. THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH! Now, let's all work together to finish off TLB. To quote Inigo (reread earlier posts if you've forgotten), "Prepare to die."
On Dec. 5, 2014, I was diagnosed with rectal cancer. And that's where we start. If you're here for the first time, you'll have to read from the bottom (no pun intended!) up. Go to Dec 2014 and scroll to the bottom of the page...