Thursday, August 30, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Chris went into surgery this morning at 7 am. The entire procedure is expected to take 12 hours. Perhaps even longer now that I just received the first update from his dad. The removal of the tumor was expected to take 4 hours but the email says it lasted 5 1/2. Please continue to pray for God's mercy on him as he goes through such a monumental operation. I will post updates as I receive. Please also pray for the doctors and for Chris' family and his girlfriend, Katie, who is also in Houston with them.
First of all, thank you for all the words of encouragement and your sincere prayers. after 5 1/2 hours of waiting, Dr Weber just met with us. He said the pathologist was sure that Chris has some kind of reasonably high grade malignancy, and probably one positive lymph node, but the deeper lymph nodes appeared negative and the initial reports were that the tumor margins were clear. He cautioned us that it would be a week before a final report about tumor type, nodes, and margins would be available. The harvest of his right fibula is complete and the reconstruction team has now taken over. He explained that his part had lasted longer than expected, but also felt like he had spared most of the nerves that are not usually spared in a cancer case. He also said that it was almost a certainty that he would need post operative radiation. The tumor type (adenoid cystic) that the Chicago biospy sugggested is notorious for climbing up nerves and Dr Weber specifically said that he found no evidence of any nerve involvement with tumor. All in all, it could have been a much worse report, and we have a general sense of relief.
We hope to be able to see him tonight in the ICU and hope to get a good report from the reconstruction team. Prayers now are for free margins, a good pathology report, and progressive healing. He entered this with a great attitude and has been supported by his many dear friends. His anesthesiologist that we met this morning is here after escaping from post war Vietnam. He somehow knew that Chris's job was investing in Asian equities. They were talking about the Vietnamese stock market as he was rolling away from us to his surgery. We are so proud of him and his demeanor through all of this.
Olivia and I have never been more acutely aware of the blessing of so many friends.
With deepest appreciation,
Louis and Olivia
Posted by Darby at 3:28 PM
Thursday, August 23, 2007
What a treat it was to be out of the humidity for a few days and to have 4 consecutive nights of uninterrupted sleep! But the best was waking up in the carriage house to mom bringing us coffee in bed, opening the french doors and feeling the cool breeze off the corn fields... sounds like a story book doesn't it!? Just wait, after we had coffee in bed and enjoyed cool breezes we made our way down to the patio where we watched hummingbirds up close and personal for over an hour! What fun!
Howard's burial service was very touching and I hope not to soon forget it. The veteran's were there and did a 21 gun salute while the bagpiper played Amazing Grace... if you didn't get goosebumps or tears I'd have to guess you were either deaf or blind or perhaps both. Mimi is getting along ok and is probably catching up on much needed sleep after 4 long months of caring for Howard around the clock. It's always so good to see her and I hope once we get settled here that she will come and stay with us for a couple weeks!
Erika and I managed to make our way back to Dothan late Tuesday night. After many stops along the way to pick up a few necessities, like an antique mail sorter from a Franklin antique mall and under counter refrigerator drawers from Mazer's, we decided that since Chance bought a motorcycle while Erika was gone that we are going to buy a 15 passenger van to haul all our stuff for our next road trip. Which if it isn't to Houston to see Chris will be to Scott's and Lakewood! Can't wait... we'll fill up our van so fast that Chance will have that motorcycle sold before we get back.
Justin managed to survive while I was gone. Of course he did have the help of his mother and father... in fact I'm not sure he even stayed here at the ole rental house! What a stinker! He was very glad to see me return and I was refreshed and ready to see him and my girls. Little Raiger came down with a nasty case of pink eye while I was gone and Justin got her to the doctor and meds.... yay! The bad news is that this morning she woke up with it in her other eye! Thankfully we already have the medicine!
Posted by Darby at 7:11 AM
Thursday, August 16, 2007
I just received an email from Chris' dad. I will post some of it here so you will know exactly what to pray for! Again, I ask you to please pray and thank you in advance for your prayers! This is some serious stuff!
Howard (my step-grandfather) who we just got to visit with a couple weeks ago, passed away this morning. Erika is here and the two of us are headed to IL in the morning. Please pray for travel mercies for us. The girls will stay here with daddy, pray for him too! :) I'm pretty certain we got the house. The woman we are buying it from is 94 and has family in town and doesn't want to look at the contract until her guests leave next Tuesday... OK??? Anyway, I'll fill you in soon... it is so not important to me right now... this is...
We just returned home from the hospital after a long day. Chris showed up early for a chest CT and a new CT of his head and neck. Answered prayer for today was grace and strength in the face of less than the best news.
Our doctor told us that today’s x-rays eliminated any hope of saving the left mandible. He will lose a good portion beginning at the angle of the jaw and going forward three or four inches towards the chin. Some good news is that the surgical team has come together to permit scheduling for next Friday, the 24th. Dr. Weber said his part will take approximately four hours and the facial reconstruction part approximately eight hours. He predicted a hospitalization of seven to ten days and the need for a tracheotomy, which could be removed at about the time of his hospital discharge. He also thinks having a gastric feeding tube will be helpful to his recovery, as post-operative radiation will also be required, but not started, until he is mostly surgically healed. Chris has three or four challenging months ahead of him, as radiation also has its own list of frustrating annoyances.
Chris remains unbelievable to all of us. He retains his great wit and humor, which is so encouraging. He already has a repertoire of jokes about what it will be like to gum your food with your leg bone (the fibula will be transplanted to make the new portion of mandible).
I will not write again until after his surgery, but please don’t forget to crank up your prayers for next Friday. We remain grateful for your appeals to God and your many notes of encouragement.
Posted by Darby at 9:18 PM
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Posted by Darby at 9:01 PM
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Posted by Darby at 8:10 AM
Monday, August 6, 2007
Posted by Darby at 9:37 PM
Thursday, August 2, 2007
After 5 days of rest and relaxation on the family farm (with 15% humidity) it was hard to head back to the rental house and 100% humidity! But we're here and I'm very refreshed and restored after having a fantastic visit with my family in Illinois! We left Friday and only made it to Nashville, we spent the night, and made the rest of the trip on Saturday! We got back last night... after a 12 hour drive we were exhausted. Thankfully my husband is the driver in the family and all I have to do is tell him every move to make! :) Actually, I did pretty good this time and only made suggestions when I thought our life was potentially in danger!
Posted by Darby at 5:36 PM