Monday, June 4, 2012

Tomorrow is the BIG day!

Tomorrow Steve has to be at MD Anderson at 10:30 for his surgery.  He will be having surgery to remove his right adrenal gland (and the grapefruit size tumor that is on it).  This is a major surgery.  They will be making an incision from right under his sternum all the way down towards his belly and then it will curve into a U shape towards his back.  They will have to remove his intestines and sit them to the side while they work on the adrenal gland removal.  The adrenal gland sits on top of the kidney, the vena cava (the large vein that carries de-oxygenated blood from the lower half of the body to into the right atrium of the heart) is very close by; therefore, making this a very major surgery.  Here is a good diagram

Poor Steve has been on a clear liquid diet all day, has to take a drink to "cleanse his colon" and then can not eat or drink after midnight!  Uggg, I feel so bad for him.  I know he has got to be starving now, not to mention how he is going to feel tomorrow morning not being able to have ANYTHING.  Oh well, I guess that should be the least thing I am worried about!  I just can't help but to feel so bad for him!

We were told the surgery should take between 2-3 hours.  He will then be admitted and be in the hospital about 5 days.  He will have an epidural after the surgery (or maybe before?) to be able to get pain meds.  Pain meds that are given through an epidural have less side effects than those given through an nausea and vomiting.  You don't really want to be vomiting with an 8-10 inch cut down your belly!   Here is a picture of what the cut will be similar to.

It should take 4-6 weeks for Steve to completely recover from the surgery, although every day he will be less and less sore.  They said after about 10 days he should be able to sit comfortably with minimal pain (with pain meds).  So, we shall see.

In speaking with the surgeon and the PA today, they both said that Steve had a "strange case of stage IV Melanoma".  I kinda like the sounds of that.  "Typical" cases of Stage IV Melanoma are not good.  The surgeon couldn't even find the original lymph node that was swollen the size of a golf ball (or bigger).  He finally found it after much digging but admitted that if he didn't know he was digging for it he would have never felt it and would have overlooked it.  So, the lymph node has shrank SIGNIFICANTLY!  The spot on the lung, both the surgeon and PA both stated they are not 100% convinced that the it is even melanoma.  I let them know that Steve had pleurisy (inflammation of the lining of the lung) last year for several months, had swine flu, and a couple of spells of bronchitis.  So, in fact the 8 mm spot on his lung could actually indeed be scar tissue or something else.  The only way we will ever know is a biopsy, and we may do that someday.  After Steve heals from this surgery and is on his next treatment for a while, if everything is going well, they may actually even do another surgery to remove the lymph nodes on the right side of his body.

Things are looking good for now, we just have to keep our fingers crossed for a smooth surgery tomorrow! I will update again after surgery and once we get settled into a room.

Thanks again to everyone for your love and support!


P.S.  Here are a few photos from the last month.  I didn't update the blog over the last month but thought I would share a few pictures from that time.

Family game night with Sadie 

Free dessert at Chili's - YUM!

Daddy napping while Ashlynn plays on the Ipad 

Daddy and his girls at Rainforest Cafe 

Steve and I this past weekend before our night out gambling!


  1. Will be praying for you Steve for a good recovery. You are a fighter with a big contagious smile. Will be praying for you both through this surgery process and recovery. I know you have a wonderful sweet wife to take care of you!

  2. Steve,our thoughts and prayers will be with you today as you go through this surgery. We will continue to pray to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for a complete healing of your body; comfort and strength at all times; and an ease of suffering. Stay strong and stand on the many blessings you have in your beautiful family! Jennifer, hang in there and let me know if you need anything, including if you need me to go down to Houston. We love you'll and are very proud of your great attitude and strength through all of this.
    God Bless You, Uncle Tim & Aunt Robin

  3. Thank you, Uncle Tim and Aunt Robin. We love you guys!