Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Surgery Day


On May 22, 2008, my Dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. After chemo and radiation treatments (and four weeks of recovery, including a trip to Torch Lake, MI), today was surgery day. Dad went in early this morning and after 4 hours of surgery, he is now in the ICU at the James Cancer Hospital. They ended up taking 1/3 of his stomach (which is better than the 1/2 they were anticipating), and a good portion of his esophagus.

Eli and I went to visit him this evening and stayed a little over an hour. Strict visiting hours in the ICU kicked us out. I think I could have stayed all night. It's funny how something as bothersome as seeing your father hooked up to multiple IVs and a ventilator can still have that much pull. You just don't want to walk away. And I work late tomorrow, which means I can't go back until 9:00pm tomorrow night. How will I make it through the day?

It was definitely disturbing to see Dad like that. It just doesn't seem like him. But although he is heavily sedated, he still had some moments of awareness. He opened his eyes a bit when we walked in the room and we were able to say "hello". Every now and then he'd crack his eyes open to let us know he was aware that we were there. For the most part Eli and I talked with Laura, which was a little weird for me. We knew Dad could probably hear, so it was strange to talk "around" him. When I told him we were leaving he nodded his head, and then when I said, "I love you Dad", he mouthed the same to me. That made me get teary. Until that point I'd handled it fairly well.

Because we found out about Dad's cancer a couple days after finding out that we were pregnant, this has been an odd experience for me. I haven't allowed myself to get too emotionally involved in the cancer thing because of the negative effect those emotions might have on the babies. It's quite a delicate balance. I just hope that I have still been able to deal with things in a healthy way. But now we have arrived at this day we have been looking forward to and dreading all at the same time. I was expecting to feel relief (and I do feel relief that the surgery went well), but I can't quite bring myself to think that everything is okay. There are so many variables now. Just last weekend, a friend of Dad and Laura's who had been fighting (and beating) pancreatic cancer for more than a year died of pneumonia! Of all things! And so now there is a fear that something else might go wrong. But now that I have recorded those worries, I am going to try and forget them.Things are looking good and the doctors have been optimistic all along. It is in Heavenly Father's hands...how can you go wrong?

So now I will go and say yet another prayer for my Dad. Sometimes I picture, when we finally get to heaven, God handing us each a stack of something that looks a while lot like love letters tied with a pretty ribbon. But upon reading them, we will realize that these are the prayers offered in our behalf while we were in this life. Dad might need to get a moving truck for all of his.

7 comments:

hi, i'm nancy! said...

oh, ABBY.

oh, ABBY, ABBY, ABBY.

(nancy places a letter on top of the stack.)

Trish said...

Abby, we will be praying for him as well. Hang in there!
Tricia

Em Dog said...

Love you, Ab. He was in my prayers ALL DAY. . . and will continue to be in them.

Sarah said...

Aw, Abby. Your post made me cry... I know exactly what it is like to have a parent in the ICU and how you just want to stay forever, put a band-aid on it and make it better. It is so so so hard. But have faith in your dad's ability to get better -- it's always so scary the first day/week. I remember my mom being very, very out of it for a few days... BUT it miraculous how people can heal. Have faith that very soon this will be a distant memory for you and you'll see your dad holding your little ones! God is looking out for all of you. You, Eli, your babies and your dad are in our prayers every day...

We love you tons.

The Bowmans said...

Thank you everyone for your sweet comments. Love you all.

The Katzbox said...

I love that image of a neatly stacked and ribboned pile of prayers waiting for us...won't that be fun to read?...he's in many temples Abby....so many.....

J. Miyoshi Zuehl said...

I love you. Ilove you for the wonderful spiritual thoughts you put in my head. Thank you. I though of my little stack of prayers with my little pink ribbon and I hope I've added to someone else's stack, and frequently. I'd like to encourage you to keep your head up since you've done so for me many times whether you realize it or not. My Japanese Grandpa had the very same cancer several years ago. He had his esophagus removed and now has his stomach in his chest bit is completely fine. He is getting very old now and has had a fantastically full life. I know your dad will be just as lucky.

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