Friday, May 21, 2010

Surgery day!

Well, I will begin this by stating that I just got word that Sam is out of surgery and in recovery. Which means I am now 2 hours away from seeing her once she is moved to a step-down room. They said she is doing well and everything went smoothly. Having said that, I feel that I should update everyone on how the day began and what occurred to get to this point.

My day began at 3:45 this morning abruptly as my alarm reminded me that it was time to get up, since Sam had to be at the hospital by 6:00 AM. Why so early, besides the fact that we live about an hour from the the hospital - Univ. or Penn. Let me explain. You know when I set my alarm last night and reluctantly entered 3:45, it didn't seem so bad. You think, no big deal - I can get up. And suprisingly, I think with the anxiety and anticipation of the day, I popped right out of bed! Proceeded to shower, get changed, do last minute stuff that needed to be done, prepare Max's bottle, wake Max to feed him, change him and get him back to sleep. Actually, Sam can take credit for getting him back to sleep. By this time, Sam was dressed and came down and wanted to rock him to sleep, since she will be unable to for the forseeable future. All this was done and we were out the door by 4:45 am. We made record time to Philly, (if you ever want to travel to Philly, the optimum time is 5 am - just in case anyone was wondering!), and arrived at the hospial at 5:45. Sam was admitted and brought up to the pre-op area. I was able to sit with her while they prepped her for surgery and did some last minute checks and drilled her with last minute questions.

You will notice a break in my blog timing, because as I was finishing that last sentence last night, they called me in to see Sam for the first time.

What a day yesterday! I will pick up where I left off from last night, but before I do that, I just talked with Sam and she is doing ok. She had a rough night in the ICU and she is in a lot of pain, but other than that, she is alert and able to talk and communicate.

OK - yesterday's timeline:

They wheeled her away at about 7:30 AM to go to the operating room. They said that I should not expect her to be done until 3:00 or 4:00 at the earliest. So, I collected her personal belongings and headed to my car in search of something to eat somewhere and something to do for the next several hours. I found my way to the mall where I got some breakfast, browsed some shops and believe it or not, got a much overdue eye exam. I checked in at home to see how the kids were fairing and everything seemed to be pretty good. My mom and my nephew flew in from Florida to be here to help while Sam was in the hospital. They have already been a huge help and I know will continue to help over the next week. Thank you MOM and KATHAN!!!! I received a call at around noon that they had finished the first phase of the surgery and everything went well. At that time, they were starting the second phase. I made my way back to the hospital at about 2:00 pm and went to the family lounge waiting area. There were many families waiting at that point and a very useful electronic board where they tracked every patients progress. I found a seat in front of the screen, so I could watch for any updates on Sam. 2:00 went into 3:00, which turned into 4 and 5 o'clock. A quick browse around the room made me realize that there were only a handful of families left along with me. At 5:15, I got a call from the second surgeon stating that they were finishing up and they would be taking her to recovery in the next hour. At 5:45, the update showed up on the board that she was finished and moved to recovery at 5:41. Her estimated 8 hour surgery took 9 1/2 hours and was finally completed. They said it would be approximately 2 hours before she would be moved from the recovery room to ICU. At about an hour and a half into the recovery, they called and asked if I wanted to visit her for a minute or two. About that same time, Sam's mom called and had arrived at the hospital after a day of helping my mom with the kids. So, we both went to see Sam in recovery and it was great to see her! She was not very coherent at that point and was in an extreme amount of pain. She did not feel any pain in the chest, but was in an extreme amount of pain in her abdomen area. They had to change her dressings and do some other things, so Sam's mom and I went back down to the family lounge. By this time we had the room to ourselves and they were preparing to close. So, we were moved to the ICU family lounge, where we waited for her to be moved and settled in. Finally at 10:00 PM, we were given word that we could go see her in her room and actually visit with her. Jennifer and I sat and talked with her for over an hour until I finally pulled myself away, because I knew I needed to drive back home and be here for the morning stuff with the kids. Jennifer stayed at a friend's house in Philly, so I dropped her off and headed home. Of course, there was an extreme backup on the highway back home. I eventually got off the highway and took backroads back home. I laid my head down on the pillow at 1:45, a short 22 hours after waking up from that same spot the morning before. Sam did well in surgery from what they said, it is just a tough surgery and it puts her body through a lot! In talking with her this morning, she had a very tough night and she said it is more pain than she could have imagined. They check on her every hour in the ICU, so any sleep she could even begin to have, was interrupted frequently. She has a hard time even moving her arms at this point, because of the pain. She had a very hard time moving her left arm because of the lymph nodes that were removed from under her arm. She has to do some lung tests to make sure her breathing stays adequate which is tough because she had a hard time even taking a deap breath with her abdomen being so sore. They said they want her to get up today and walk. She does not know how that will be possible at this point, but we will see. I told her everyone is thinking about her and she appreciates all of the support. I will try to keep everyone updated on her status and she is scheduled at this point to be released from the hospital on Tuesday.

It is tough to see Sam go through this pain, but it is for the best. Before going into surgery Sam had an MRI done and it came back very positive. No signs of the tumor remaining in either the breast or the lymph nodes. Very exciting and what a relief!

Thank you once again for all of your support and keep checking back for updates!


  1. Tad,thanks for a such a detailed report. I am keeping you guys in my thoughts and prayers and I know that this will be the worst but you guys are the bravest people I know!! call if you need anything- Becky E

  2. We are keeping all of you in our prayers and sending you all our positive thoughts and wishing you a speedy recovery.
    vance, stephanie and the kids

  3. Tad, thank you so much for this. I will make sure the Theatre IV family keeps up with your updates. Please send our mountains of love to Sam, and take a generous dose for yourself and your boys.