The surgery was pretty much the easiest thing I've ever done. I remember being wheeled away from my family, telling them all I love them and then joking around with the anesthesiologistas like 100 people worked around me to get the operating room ready. My next memory, after that is waking up in the ICU with my family around telling me how well things went (I had no idea what they were talking about). The next few days were tuff, as they are on anyone that has open heart surgery, but now, five days later, I am ready to get out of the hospital and start getting ready for the next step. The pain is still there, but it's amazing how in 2-3 days it went from horrible (like keeping me from walking, getting up, etc) to just an annoyance. Just like my last surgery, it took them a day or two to figure out how to treat my pain, and once they got it under control things got MUCH better for me!
I am excited that the surgery was such a success. It feels really strange to sit here and know that this tumor, that's changed my life so significantly, is no longer in my heart. It hasn't really sunk in yet, I don't think. I am so relieved Dr. Reardon was able to remove 100% of it, and get clean margins, as I think that's very important moving forward. I am very excited about getting the pathology report on the tumor...we were told that most of it looked dead, but the question is how much. If it's 100% dead that means my treatment (chemo and WillPower!) is dominating this cancer, and can be an indicator as to how the treatment has worked in the other parts of my body this cancer has impacted. Dr. Ravi told us, as we left his office back in October, "if it's 100% dead, we will have something to celebrate". Even if it's 95% dead, I think that will be a huge victory.
I am not sure what to think about the sternum not coming out...we were told by every oncologist we've consulted with over the last 14 months that it would need to come out. I am happy to hear that it looked good, but part of me wonders if it will have to come out eventually anyway. We will have to go back to Dr. Ravi on that, but I think it's a minor issue at this point considering there are two other known spots where the cancer is/was (spine and rib) and those bones are still there. I am under the impression, however, that to go for a cure would include removing these at some point, which would include my sternum.
I have to say thanks as well to the surgeons, doctors, nurses, PCA's, etc at Methodist hospital. For the most part, they have all been wonderful to us. We've met some very caring medical professionals here and are very thankful for them. I will have a lot to post about in the next week or so and once my mind clears up a little and I get out of the hospital I think my thoughts will be much clearer!
Thanks again for all the support - I couldn't do this without my family and friends. I am working on responding to everyone in the next couple days (I hope you all know I can't respond to the comments section in this blog or I would respond to every one...but I do read them, multiple times!).