Thursday, January 28, 2010

General Hospital

As much as I will love and embrace Eve's new belly, I just had to get some pictures of it before it was changed forever. Armed with a bag of conversation hearts and a lot of patience, Jo's PhotoMojo got a lot of great pics yesterday. Go on, take a look at the slideshow here.

We will get some post-op belly pics in a few weeks. Maybe one with a broken beer bottle and a caption that says, "You should have seen the other kid!"

At 8:45 last night, Eve's oncologist called to say they had a game plan. Apparently, emails have been bouncing back and forth across the country, all with Eve's name in the subject line. Do they take out the entire kidney to remove any possibility of leaving cancer behind, or do they try to spare as much of the kidney as possible to preserve as much kidney function as they can?

(Maybe too much information doesn't help you as much as you think?)

The plan was to do renal sparing surgery. I thought this was the plan last week, but apparently plans changed several times in between our meeting with the surgeon last Friday and my conversation with the doctor last night. Anyhoo, early to bed. 4 a.m. wake-up call!

Do surgeons take breaks if they are operating on the same patient for hours on end?
12% of you said yes. They pass the knife off to another surgeon like a relay with Chariots of Fire playing in the background.
8% of you said yes, but they don't share the knife. They leave the patient open on the table and let nurses shove donut holes in their mouths when they feel their blood sugar dropping. (Nobody likes Dr. McShakyHands.)
59% of you said no. No breaks for you.

That's right. No breaks for you. Which was fine, because Eve's surgery didn't take too terribly long.

We arrived at 6 a.m. I carried Eve back to the operating room around 7:30 and she immediately forgot she was in the hospital because she was so hypnotized by the four large screens playing Cinderella. The anesthesiologist placed a strawberry-scented mask on Eve's face, and it couldn't have been choreographed better. The fairy godmother appeared and sang "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo" just as Eve slowly layed back, eyelids drooping, until she hit the table with a big grin on her face.

We should all get to fall asleep like that.

(I wonder if they popped in a different dvd after Eve fell asleep? Like, Wilms Tumor Excision for Dummies or Scrubs.)

The surgery took about two hours, much faster than we had expected. Everything went well. The right kidney could not be saved as hoped, but the other was left relatively intact, with only a small section removed. The tumorous right kidney and the biopsies of the left kidney and lymph nodes will be FedEx'd to a pathologist in Chicago who has seen pretty much every case of Wilms Tumor in the past thirty years. So yeah, I guess she's kind of qualified to inspect Eve's innards under her microscope.

Eve is in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) right now to recover. Abdominal surgery is no joke; it is quite painful. Her pain meds have been increased to keep her comfortable and let her sleep. As of now, she has her port accessed, and has two IV lines, one of which is an arterial line to get a constant reading of her blood pressure. She also has a nasogastric (NG) tube which is taking all the gross stuff out of her stomach and draining it out through her nose. It resembles pesto. There are a handful of leads on her chest and back which make the image that much more dramatic. Lastly, she has a catheter and we have taken to watching her urine output. There's not a lot coming out, and what is coming out is cloudy, so she keeps getting more fluids to keep her from getting dehydrated. And yes, there was a 10-minute period today when I just stared at that pee-pee bag, willing it to be filled up.

(Oh! And there's this 6" section of bloody steri-strips in the middle of her stomach.)

We are allowed to stay in Eve's room 22 hours out of the day. We lucked out in that we got one of the few private rooms here in the PICU, which meant I could turn up Terminator 2 on the TV as loud as I wanted. (Turns out Eve does not give a damn either way what happens to John Connor. I'll let it slide this time since she's medicated.) We are NOT allowed to sleep in here, though. I guess if there were to be an emergency and the staff needed to get to Eve, they do not want to trip over me outstretched on a short, uncomfortable cot, drooling on the plastic pillow and snoring like an overweight lumberjack. long as we are awake, we can stay in the room. Which has become increasingly harder as the day has worn on.

Matt decided to take tonight's shift, so I will be going home in a bit to get a few hours of rest in our own comfy bed. (Matt, I hope you're not reading this right now. And if you are, don't be jealous. This was your idea!) I'll come back early in the morning and Matt will take his turn going home to get some sleep. We are goofy enough when we are sleep-deprived, so it's best not to be deprived at the same time, lest you want one of us to document the days events by changing the lyrics to Dora the Explorer. (Because I'll do it. Evie, Evie, Evie, Ne-phrec-to-my! Eve is super-cool with just one kidney!)

Hopefully Eve will have a good night and we will be able to move her to a regular hospital room tomorrow. Not only would one of us have a place to sleep, but we know where they hide all the snacks!


  1. docu mom does it again. thank you for updating. it is great to hear the details. i was there while reading. glad you went home to get some rest, it might be rough the next few nights in the reg room with beeping monitors and nurses taking vitals,,,bet you wont even notice the pillows. i can say that pesto won't be on my menu anytime soon though. big hugs to your family from mine.

  2. We have all been waiting with baited breath for an update. I am so thrilled to hear it went well and you guys are in my thoughts tonite.

    Get some rest and take care.

  3. Hi it's Matt... I've never commented on any blogs before, but since you invoked my name I will say that yes, I am reading this right now. But it's ok because Eve is happy as long as I am in the room. And Dora.

    Thanks to everyone for the well wishes and prayers.

  4. glad to hear surgery went well!!! still praying for eve and your fam!!! and i just have to say, that your posts are quite hysterical at times, and i about spewed my coffee when i read about john connor. hahahaha. you can't let her get away without caring about him!! hahaha.

    love it. thanks for sharing your journey through all of this and somehow despite everything, you manage to make me smile. your family is blessed to have such a strong mommy :)

  5. So glad to hear that Eve's surgery went well!!! Hope you guys are all able to get some rest soon. You have a brave little girl; as is your family. Don't worry, I'm sure Eve will develop the yearning to know what happens to John Connor at a later date--most of us do ;). Hang in there and take good care!!

  6. Glad to hear she came through well. I'll keep sending up bow and arrow prayers each time I think of ya'll during the day. Just a footnote-my kids are grown and I kind of miss singing along to the videos-enjoy :)!

  7. i love the pictures... we hope eve has a good day. let us know if you need anything

  8. I'm so glad to hear everything has gone well so far!

  9. Josh mainlined "Dora Saves the Mermaids" and the dora Diego episode where they go back in time to the Dinosaurs. We had them on a VCR tape (dubbed from the dvr) and we ran it in a constant loop lest he growl at us and make his belly hurt. So try those out, there may be something belly soothing about those two episodes.

    On a side note, number of children's dvds owned before diagnosis with a 3 and 1.5 yr old in the house? 0. Current DVD collection? I'm going to play it safe and say 50+. Josh wants the tv on all night long and all day in-patient, you learn really quick which dvds are "magic" and auto restart, key for overnight stays.

    Glad to hear the slacker kidney has finally been evicted, I mean seriously who want to keep a tenant who doesn't take out the trash. . .when it's their job to take out the trash? She'll be running around like a crazy person in no time, the pre-school sect has no appreciation for "major abdominal surgery" and "recuperative time."