I still can’t find any words that describe the feelings around the following statement – maybe because our feelings haven’t caught up with us entirely. Feelings present or not, the fact is that as of yesterday afternoon, Adam is tumor-free! DID YOU HEAR THAT? ADAM IS TUMOR FREE! Go ahead and shout, dance, or throw up those praise hands; this is the sort of thing that inspired emojis, I think.
Our exceptional surgeon (yes, Adam has claimed him as his own after filling up a punch card with 5 of Adam’s 6 surgeries) skillfully removed 5 more tumors yesterday – one the size of a mango, 3 smaller jerk lymph nodes, and even a suspicious mass on Adam’s lung that they weren’t sure they could remove safely (but they did). By our counts, this means that surgeons have extracted 16 tumors from Adam’s body this year. SIXTEEN. AND THEY’RE ALL GONE! Forget the emojis; look through your stash of favorite gifs and celebrate!
How they went about removing the tumors yesterday is a slightly less fun bit of news. They “scored” his ribs in a few places and “cut some notches” in them so that they could bend the ribs enough to remove that bigass tumor. You try squeezing a very risky mango through your ribcage and see how you feel the next day. Bruised and cracked ribs underneath a sizeable incision isn’t pleasant – but the doctors weren’t wrong: While this feels AWFUL, it’s not as bad as the last surgery (this isn’t emoji worthy, just sigh of relief worthy).
They have also inserted 2 large tubes on either side of Adam’s chest to help his lungs and to drain things that need drained (I know, I know, that’s enough details – it’s dinner time). Apparently the chest is like a pressurized cabin, and when you cut a hole in it, the lungs can’t expand and contract as they are supposed to. The tubes should help get Adam’s chest “cabin pressure” working properly in a few days. They are also painful. The good news is that they are managing Adam’s pain really well this go-around. His vitals are strong enough for the good meds and epidural pain management is legit!
A few more highlights:
1. Adam has been up and walking 4 times today – sort of against his will (if we’re being totally honest) but it’s to avoid pneumonia so he’s obeying like a champ (in order to avoid coughing at all costs – remember, cracked ribs?) Walking is really painful, but he’s able to do it – unlike his post-operation recovery in March, so we’ll take it.
2. Adam was graduated to a soft-foods diet today and he has an appetite. He wasn’t allowed to eat soft foods for 12 days last surgery so this seems like lightning fast progression.
While we're all here, I wanted to give a few answers to common questions we’ve been getting:
What does recovery from this surgery look like?
Adam is expected to be in the hospital for 5-7 days. During that time, they will be making sure his chest is drained and his lungs are working. They’ll also make sure that his body can tolerate food (the mango tumor was latched onto his esophagus so they want to make sure there are no complications). They’ll also be waning his pain medication from epidural to IV to oral, which will likely be a painful step-down process. Then, Adam will be healing for about 6-8 weeks at home. While this surgery went extremely well, it was still a major surgery so recovery won’t be a walk in the park.
So, now that Adam has been through chemo and all the tumors are gone, is Adam Cancer free?
The doctors continue to caution us that Adam isn’t totally in the clear re: cancer. They won’t declare Adam officially “cancer-free” for 5 years as rates of recurrence are higher with this type of cancer within 5 years. Until then, Adam will have regular scans and bloodwork to make sure he doesn’t have any surprises growing. Here’s the thing with cancer: It’s a complicated jerk.
For now, we are choosing to celebrate that Adam has no active cancer cells in his blood and no visible tumors. THAT IS WORTH CELEBRATING! By all means, please celebrate with us!
In addition to praising God for all of the amazing answers to prayers, please keep praying for Adam. Pray for his body to heal, for his organs to wake up, for no infections, and for no post-op complications. And please keep praying that there is no recurrence of cancer. Adam is super over this cancer business.
So, get off the internet and bust out your favorite dance-party mix!
Allison (And Adam in his med-drunk state)