Don’s surgery is done, and he is in recovery right now.

He and Heather arrived at UW Hospital at 6:45am. After checking into surgery section, they wheeled him into the surgery facility at 8:30am. He was clowning and joking with the nurses. This is a really interesting different side of Don that shows up when he’s in the hospital.

At 9am we (Heather, Marianne – Don’s mother in law, Art Kopicky & me) were told the laproscopic surgery had begun. At 10:30am the surgeon, Dr. Andrew Wright, came out to report that it was completed. Two major items:

1. They equipped Don with an ileostomy bag, thus cutting off any further drainage from the colon into the liver. This should allow the infection in the liver to clear up, and give the medical teams a better chance of getting at the tumor directly some time, and for doing a colon resection that would eliminate the need for the ileostomy bag. Assuming the abscess in the liver stops draining when there is no colon material passing through and the infection is stopped, they might also remove the liver tube and bag. The liver tube is what has caused untold pain and discomfort to Don over the past months. Dr. Wright explained that normally, there is one point where the liver actually touches a section of the colon. It is at this junction where the tumor grew, attached itself to the colon, broke through the colon, and induced the drainage from the colon into the liver, thus creating the abscess in the liver that was initially thought to be an amoebic abscess back in September 2006. With no further drainage into the liver, we hope that the abscess will “dry up” and the liver tube can be removed.

2. They did not see any other tumors in probing around the liver, which is great news. The actual liver tumor is covered by a layer of fat (I forget the medical term), and a photo comparison of the left and right sides of the liver shows clearly that right side is disturbed by the presence of the tumor, and the left side is quite clear.

Next steps? Don will probably resume chemo treatments next week to continue to kill the cancer cells and shrink the tumors in lung and liver. At some point when the bacterial infection from the colon drainage into the liver is all cleared up, the doctors will decide on (a) removing the liver tube, (b) colon resection, (c) going in to actually cut away as much of the tumor as possible. Right now we cannot predict what the exact next steps will be.

Today’s surgery was a very necessary first step in the whole treatment process to address the continual bacterial infection that has been present in the liver since last September. We’re all very, very grateful this turned out well, and that they saw no other tumors. Hopefully Don will start feeling better as a result, even though he now carries a second bag. It’s hard to imagine living with a pretty vicious infection in his liver for all this time.

They expect to keep Don at UW for tonight and tomorrow nights. There is an outside chance, if he feels really well, that they would release him tomorrow afternoon. Then recovery at home, and gathering strength for the next chemo treatment.

Thank you for your prayers. I know they are a great source of strength for Don and Heather and boys.

Skip, for Don & Heather

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Comments

2 Comments so far

  1. ThomasWMcKee on June 13, 2007 4:45 pm

    Praying for you. Just discovered yesterday this site and what you have been going through. I can’t emagine. Your writing was so inspirational and a challenge to us. Thanks for your faithfulness.
    Tom and Susie McKee
    Sacramento

  2. paul goeller on June 13, 2007 5:05 pm

    Don, just “coincidentally” i have praying and fasting today–i do this with a special focus on North Korea…but today there has been a dear brother and his family in Seattle in this prayer time…i am thankful for the good news so far… we continue to uphold you guys…and i’m treasuring the time you and i shared together when i was in the Emerald City a week ago…love you, Bro! under the Mercy of Christ, paul

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