Our surgeon just came looking for us – at first I felt a deja-vu and a stomach drop, but this time he was wearing a big smile. Surgery ended earlier than expected and was quite successful. Let’s see what I can remember…
They expected a large incision running from front to back and instead made two smaller incisions – one on the side and one along the spine. The muscles in this area run up and down so they didn’t have to cut through them. This will help recovery They expected to remove a rib and instead spread the ribs on the side and removed a couple inches of three ribs right as they attach to the spinal column. They worried about the way the tumor was pressing on the aorta – and found that the pleura covering the lungs was completely unaffected and the tumor was between it and the pleura on the chest wall side –I think I am getting that right. It means that it was enclosed…protected…and everything was protected from it! There were only a few small vessels coming from the aorta into the tumor which they were able to close off. Otherwise it became a non-issue. Let’s see— they used some sort of special instrument to take away small amounts of the three vertebrae that were affected until the margins came back clean. Not very much bone was removed and she did not need any sort of stabilization. This news was some of the best because it means no metal of any kind and she will be able to have nice, clear MRIs for follow-up care. He said they even took the time to remove the little clamps off of those blood vessels and stitch them – all for future MRIs. He also had something that he could use to run over the surface of all the bones and essentially cauterize them – killing any sort of malignant cell that might have been left behind. Her lung inflated and she is doing much better than expected. They told us that she would probably be on the ventilator overnight – but are already thinking that the breathing tube can come out during recovery. She will be so happy about that! She was mentally preparing for the panic of the tube and being restrained again. They do want her to stay in ICU for another night to monitor her, then a couple days on the floor. He is quite certain she is not going to need radiation and is prepared to state a strong case to the “tumor board”. Chordomas rarely metastasize, but they do have of history of recurrence. He says the risk of recurrence is preferable to the risks involved with radiation in a Li-Fraumeni patient. It would be amazing if we could end this adventure with surgical recovery and no further treatment! I know prayers have been heard and answered.
They suggested we go get some lunch since it will be awhile before we can see her. We are both smiling!
Best news ever!! I am so happy for Jackie and your family! Give her my love and know that prayers will continue forward. Yahoo!!!
That is some great news! I know she will be pleasantly pleased when she awakes. Beautiful!
That is the best news!! Prayers for a speedy recovery. I'm sitting at work with tears streaming down my face. You are such an example of faith and strength. Much love to you and your family! Val and Mark Keller
I am so happy for Jackie and all who love her. Your blog is beautiful and inspiring, I feel the spirit your blessed with as I read, how amazing it is, that your miracles can bring such love into all those are around you.