Wednesday, December 31, 2008

This was Mike around lunch time...he hates it when I pull out the camera but I told him I wanted everyone to see how good he looked!!  He kind of smiled for me!  He is doing really well today. He slept a lot yesterday and last night but felt very good this morning! I slept in the hospital hotel for one more night last night...he called me around 8:15 this morning to see if I was up and he sounded amazing!! I wouldn't have guessed he had surgery 2 days ago when talking to him this morning.

He is supposed to walk 3 times a day today. He walked once this morning and went farther than the occupational therapist said.  She said he was doing great!  He is also doing breathing exercises frequently to help his lungs. Our good friend Patrick (soon to be Dr. Patrick) said that is very important so we'll make sure and keep on it!!

Here's the view from Mike's room. He has a corner room on the 8th floor. I wish it were spring or summer so the trees would all be green but I'll take what I can get. The view at night is pretty neat!  

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Update as of 11:00 Tuesday

Mike's surgery ended around 4 yesterday afternoon, making it a 5 hour surgery!  Dr. Dickerman (surgeon) came and spent 15 minutes or so with us in the waiting room explaining the outcome of the surgery. I will try to explain it as best I know how!!  

They were unable to do what was planned due to the blood vessels...the major blood supply for his heart and liver would have been affected if they had proceeded as planned.  They did completely drain and remove the cysts that were still hanging around.  They did several things to help with the problems he was having: digestion issues and his bile duct not draining.  To help the bile duct drain, they rerouted it to bypass the obstruction from the pancreas. For the digestion, they removed part of his stomach... they found that his stomach was 3 x bigger than it should have been.  They said that since his food hasn't been digesting due to the obstruction, his stomach has been working harder to try and digest and has become enlarged. Reducing the size of the stomach and taking meds to help his digestion will help his food digest properly.  Everything wa s rerouted around the obstructed area since it couldn't be removed.

They did remove his gallbladder.  It could cause complication in the future and is not necessary to many of you know! :)

Now, when they finally did see his pancreas, they found that instead of being the size of three fingers, it is the size of a pencil.  This is due to the scarring from his pancreatitis.  His pancreas is not doing much due to its damage but Dr. Dickerman said he can take things to help with what the pancreas should do. One is taking insulin, the other is taking pancreatic enzymes.  He is already on insulin and will add pancreatic enzymes to his list.

He is doing well right now. He spent the night in ICU for them to monitor everything. The ICU doesn't allow you to spend the night and has visitor hours in 2 hour increments...2 hours visiting, 2 hours not visiting. Which has been kind of nice. We can go eat and rest without feeling guilty.  During our morning visi t earlier, an occupational therapist stopped by to help Mike get out of his bed and into a chair. He was still sitting when we left.  Dr. Dickerman's associate that assisted with the surgery stopped by and said they will be focusing on his pain management and breathing. There are some breathing techniques that will keep him from developing pneumonia. He should be eating in 3 days or so.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday, 2:05 update

Hi everyone!! I'm excited to say that as I was showing my mom how to find a wireless signal on her laptop (she usually uses an Alltel signal), I found a wireless at the hospital!!! YEA!!! They must have decided to add one since our last trip.  I tried using Mike's work computer and did have problems but I'm hoping my laptop will work once my mom leaves tomorrow.  
As of right now (2:05 p.m.), Mike is in surgery and doing well.  We have been getting hourly phone calls letting us know that he is still doing good.  That has been so nice. The surgery will be a long one so the hourly update has been a lifesaver!  
Mike will probably stay at least one night in ICU for monitoring and then move to a regular room.  They hope to have him up and walking (not fast or far) in a day or so.  His incision is going to be pretty big...his entire abdomen area running up and down.
That's about it for now.  I'll try and update often as long as I can get the wireless signal.  You should have seen my excitement to know it is there!!  I'm including a pic of us before he headed off!! Isn't he cute in his little surgery cap!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

So far, today has been a very peaceful day. Not many of us are working today and the weather is dreary. It has been nice to have cold weather has helped put me in the mood for the holiday! Although I'm glad we won't be here for the 77 degree weather that is coming for Christmas day!! I don't know what the weather will be like at Mike's grandparents...I need to look that up...but I'm sure it will be cooler than 77 degrees!!

I'm hoping to take some time at Keith and Jackie's to relax and journal. I really want to start journaling again but have to get the habit started. I know once I start, I probably won't be able to stop. The Bryant's house is such a good place to start. The only distraction is the TV and as long as we don't get hooked on a marathon or movies, I should have some time to get away. Last year at Thanksgiving I had the same plan but it was WAY too cold to sit on the porch and everyone was stirring around inside so I didn't get much alone time in. Maybe it will be warmer this year.

We are getting prepared for Mike's surgery. Well, for the return from Mike's surgery. I'll finish up tonight on getting the house in order so we don't come home to chaos! Everyone here has been so good to offer help in advance and I'm going to try and ask for help when I need it once we get back! I'm planning on taking a few days off when we get back to help Mike adjust to being home. His dad may come stay with us some too. I'm glad we've had this week to prepare for the surgery and least as best we know how!

I don't think I'll get to post again before Christmas so here's you "MERRY CHRISTMAS!!" Talk to you on the other side!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hello everyone!  I don't know who all reads this so some of you may already know this info.  Here's the latest on Mike.

Mike had another MRI and scope yesterday to find out the health of his pancreas.  The easy/short version is that his cysts are not refilling but his pancreas does show signs of damage. His pancreas is inflammed and scarred and will not improve on its own. It is causing obstructions to his pancreatic duct, bile duct, and intestines.  Any procedure other than surgery would be a temporary fix.

Mike will be having surgery Monday, December 29 in Dallas.  In an ideal situation, a portion of his pancreas, bile duct, and intestines will be removed and then everything will be reconnected together. There are a few things that Dr. Dickerman will look for once he is in surgery that could cause that to change--blood vessels in the way could cause more damage if the above is done so they will have to go another route.  We met with Dr. Dickerman before we left Dallas yesterday and he explained everything to us. We feel very confident in him as a doctor. He believes Mike will not have any major problems after this surgery. One common problem for patients is developing diabetes, but Mike already has that on his resume! 

He will spend at least 1 week in the hospital and then have a 4-6 week recovery time at home.  Thankfully, he'll be able to do some work from home and can still teach on Wednesday/Sunday nights when he regains strength. He is so ready to begin feeling well again! 

Please pray for Mike's body to react well to the surgery, Dr. Dickerman and his team, that the doctors will find an ideal situation during surgery, for Mike's spirits to remain positive during his hospital stay...and all of ours as well!!

Any of you new to our hospital visits, the hospital does not have internet available other than in their library.  They are only open for specific hours during the day and it is not always possible to get an update out as often as I'd like.  I will do my best to keep everyone updated often.  Also, cell phones work well in the patient rooms but not so well in waiting rooms and such that are located on the interior of the building, so please keep that in mind if texting.  Also, if you plan on texting and have Mike's number, text his phone--he has a lot more unused texts than I do!! I'll have his phone with me! Thanks!  

Thanks for all the thoughts, prayers, and words of encouragement.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Susie Homemaker

Well, it's finally happened...I am officially Susie Homemaker!!  I didn't realize it until Angela called me Susie today but I have...AND I LOVE IT!!

I spent all weekend baking goodie trays for coworkers, friends, and a little for ourselves and then cooked a good home cooked meal for two of Mike's single friends tonight--chicken fry, home made mashed taters, YUMMY!! It wasn't my best meal but they said if that wasn't my best, they'd love to try my best. It was such a good compliment!

Mike and I are headed to Dallas tomorrow for more tests.  We'll drive to Dallas, have tests Wednesday, have dinner and catch a movie with Angela, and then a scope on Thursday.  We hope to head home on Thursday. 

We are REALLY enjoying things here!  The folks are so encouraging and caring.  Oh, and we got a new couch.  I'll post a picture below. As my dad said, "NOW THAT'S A COUCH!!"  We love to entertain and it has helped. We can sit and chat with people and not be squashed on one couch!!

Well, have a Merry Christmas and keep your eye out for an update of Mike's dr. appt.