I’ve been wrapped up in life and haven’t shared for more than a week. In that time, my husband’s blockage was identified as a tumor, and we were given options, none of which sounded pleasant. The days of doctors patting your hand and not explaining what’s really going on are long past. Our options were do nothing, with an obvious negative outcome, use chemo, with the same outcome but painful, or take a chance on what’s called a Whipple procedure, where the tumor is removed along with a portion of the pancreas and intestines, then everything is reconnected. We were given statistics of survival, and potential reasons for failure. As I pointed out to the surgeon, there wasn’t one person in the hospital who wouldn’t die at some point, and if the options were failure or limited success, we couldn’t see much of a choice. My husband decided in the beginning to fight, and as long as he felt that way, we’d do whatever it took.
My husband reconnected with his brother, who flew in to help the day we called him, and was there on surgery day. With three of us there in pre-op, it was a tag team comedy act right up until they wheeled him away, and the waiting started. Seven hours later the surgeon came out to tell us he felt good about the surgery, and reminded us about the potential road blocks to recovery. The anesthesiologist reminded us that road to recovery was going to be long and difficult.
In the past several days we’ve learned about the complexities of modern medicine, and the value of a great nursing staff. We can’t say enough good things about this hospital and about his two nurses, both very experienced in this procedure, and both generous with their time and knowledge. We’ve learned about ICU delusions, which seem so very real to the patient trying to reconnect with his world and establish some kind of control over his life. Most of all, we’ve learned the value of friendships shared without strings.
Yes, it’s a long, long road but that’s far better than a road block