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I went down to Tampa on Saturday, March 8th to spend a few days with mom & dad before his surgery.  On Tuesday AM they took him in for prep.  We were there when his surgeon – Dr. Karl – came in.  He explained that it would take about 4 hours unless they had run into issues.  He said they’d make a small 4″ or so cut first and look around.  If the cancer had spread then they probably would close up and not do the surgery.  He said they had four ‘checkpoints’ along the way.  I guess like a ‘go or no-go’ thing.  Each place they’d determine how things were going and whether they’d continue or not.  He told us that when he came out to talk to us they would put us in a private room first.  He said that was his standard procedure and he did it with everyone, so just being taken to a private room did not mean there was bad news.  We said good-bye and went to the waiting room. 

It was kinda cool.  They had a ‘scoreboard’ up on the wall with a patient number and then you could see where they were ‘pre-op, OR, recovery’ that sort of thing… and the time the surgery started and how long it had been going on for.

There were a ton of people in there waiting.  Lots of operations going on in that place every day… and they’re all cancer surgeries.  I guess some doctors don’t do the ‘private room’ thing unless there is bad news.  The phone constantly rang and the person would call out a name and take them to a room.  Some surgeons just came out and sat with the people and told them how the surgery went.

After awhile all the operations that had started before dads were over and new ones had started.  Everytime the phone rang I’d get a bad feeling.  I knew if they called our name that something wasn’t right.

After two hours I figured that if they weren’t going to continue because of cancer spread they’d have known it by then so we relaxed a bit.

It took them almost five hours.  Finally they told us they were through and took us to a room.  The doc came out and told us that things went well.

He said that dad had  tollerated the surgery well… BP and pulse… he stayed strong through the whole thing. He needs to hear back from pathology but I imagine that won’t take too long since they’re already at Moffitt Cancer Center.

He said the next 10-20 hours were vital for watching for internal bleeding and then after that the danger is ‘leakage’ inside.

A little while later they had him in ICU and we went in to see him.

He ‘looked’ great. In a lot of pain, but to be expected. He has a hose down his nose sucking acid out of his stomach and he has a feeding tube into his stomach in case they need to use it.

When I had my ACL replaced they gave me one of those epidural things that blocked the feeling from my waist to my toes. They did the same with him only I had no idea they could give one so you felt nothing from your chest to your waist (or something like that) but could still feel things in your legs. Thats some awesome stuff. I believe they’ll leave that for awhile… then you don’t feel the pain associated with being cut open in your midsection and (literally) having your guts ripped out and sewn all back together again.

I decided it would be easier on my mom if I just went home tonight. Then she could sleep in tomorrow and not have to get up at 4AM to drop me off at the airport. I’m sure he’ll be feeling much better in a few days.

Hopefully there will be no bleeding or leakage… then hopefully there will be no/minimal cancer issues. One step at a time though.

The first thing I asked him was ‘Hey, did you open your eyes and think to yourself ‘Hey! I’m still here!’. He looked at me and nodded his head and said ‘yep’.

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