Thursday, July 06, 2006

post surgery

My mother had to have emergency surgery on the 4th of July. Here is the update from my father.

Dear Family & Friends,
I'm sorry for the delay in getting a surgery update to you. Things have been a little busy here and I don't have direct access to the Internet. The hospital medical library has kindly let me use their computer for this update.

Carol's surgery went well in that they were able to remove most of the tumor without any noticeable damage to sight or memory functions. Actually, the ICU nurse told me Carol is the most talkative patient on morphine that she has ever had (why am I not surprised?). Her recall of events, names, places, dates, etc. is normal, with the exception of last Tuesday, which is a blank to her because of her weakened condition on that day.

The deficits Carol was experiencing when she went into surgery (weakness in her left arm and leg, and left side vision loss) are still present and may be temporary. They could, however, be long-term. They will be addressed through therapy at the appropriate time.
She is still in ICU but will be transferred to a hospital room later today. If all goes well, she should be released from the hospital on Monday, either to go home or to a temporary therapyfacility, depending on how she progresses between now and then.

As I mentioned, her surgical team was able to remove most of the tumor, but it had some feelers extending into areas that could not be addressed surgically. Pathology confirmed that it is cancerous but unrelated to her breast cancer. From what I understand, it is unusual for a second type of cancer to appear in a person so quickly after the first, but that is what has occurred here.

They will treat what remains of the tumor with radiation therapy and then an oral type of chemotherapy. I don't remember the medical name for this type of cancer, but it is not one for which they have a cure. Typically it will recur within a year, sometimes sooner. At that time a second surgery may be appropriate, depending on the precise location of the recurrence, but given the fact that the remaining feelers are located in such sensitive areas of the brain, a second surgery does not seem to be an option.

My prayer is that the radiation and chemo follow-ups to this surgery will be very effective, or that our Lord will, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, heal her for His own glory. In any event, I praise Him for the unspeakable gift of 38 years together, and will treasure every moment He gives us in the future.

I will get another update to you when I can. I have not had a chance to read all the emails we've received since Carol's surgery, or to respond to them, but eventually I will, and I will read them to her. I deeply appreciate your thoughts, prayers and good wishes.

Many of you have asked how I am doing. Thank you for your concern. Emotionally I'm a mess much of the time, but I have times of great encouragement and strength. We have many dear friends who are making sure I am taken care of and that I'm taking care of myself. You've all gone through trials and griefs of your own, so you understand the blessings of family and friends at a time like this.

Above all, I have the comfort and encouragement of the Lord in my heart. In His wisdom He doesn't always shelter His children from pain, but He always uses the pain to refine character and to produce deeper faith and a greater longing for heaven. Frankly, I don't like what is happening, but I take great comfort in its eternal significance. Maybe the Lord will even use Carol's condition to turn some hearts toward His great love and salvation. We talked about that before she was hospitalized, so I know that's Carol's prayer too.

I know that not all of you share the trust in the Lord that Carol and I have spoken to you about over the years, but I want all of you to know that the Lord is utterly faithful toward His children, and His promises are absolutely true. I know that He has the power to heal my precious wife, but the option is for her to be in His glorious presence. I am thankful that I
do not have to make a choice between the two; that's His choice to make. But in either case, she wins. I will pray for her healing but ultimately I will defer to the Lord's will for her. That's how it should be.

One final thought: Carol is still pretty heavily medicated, so I have not shared with her the precise nature of her medical condition. I will do that at the appropriate time. But for those of you who call or visit, please be guarded in what you say about her condition. I have shared that information with you because you love her and I want you to know for the purpose of prayer.

Thank you.
As always, I write with great affection for you all,

Dennis P. McBride
PO Box 1500, Solvang, CA 93464

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