Nov 16, 2012 - 8:41 pm
It's been quite a while since I've posted on this site about Dave. It will be 6 weeks on Monday since his THE, using the colon as the stomach could not be used, and then the subsequent sepsis he developed necessitating that the whole thing needed to come down. We are left with no esophagus, no stomach! and the knowledge that he'll need reconstruction once he heals from this and regains his strength. If you can believe it he is still in ICU, out of those almost 6 weeks he has only spent 3 nights on the floor. While reading tbis on its face one would think that he is still desperately ill, but thankfully he is staring to turn the corner in many aspects. He is back in ICU only because he developed some cardiac issues late last week and they want to keep a close eye on him and ICU is the place to do that. He drops his heart rate while sleeping, and trying to figure out why. He also acquired a wicked, wicked bacterial infection while intubated, call psuedomonas, which is highly resistant to many antibiotics. So between coding during an endoscopy to look for a leak 8 days after surgery, then developing sepsis 3 days later and emergency surgery to take down the new esophagus at 4:30 in the morning; he also became very ill with this infection. It has been a roller coaster to say the least. He was extubated (off the ventilator) 2 weeks ago today, and is slowly regaining his strength. He took a lap around the ICU unit today, and has remarkable strength for a man whose been in bed almost 6 months!
I don't want to scare the newbies, but this surgery is not without its risks, so please be sure that you find a surgeon who is experienced in this procedure! I know that the MIE is in vogue, but you may not automatically be a candidate for it, and indeed until the surgeon gets in there he/she really won't know if your anatomy will support it. We didn't even realize that sometimes (rarely but for us we hit the jackpot!) that the stomach sometimes can't be used because of poor blood supply with the vessels. If Dave were not at Hopkins or another hospital of that caliber I can safely say he would not be with us. He has had every complication in the book. Not saying this to frighten anyone, but just to educate and make sure people know all the facts and to ask questions. Knowledge is power.
If all goes well in the next week we hope that Dave will go to rehab after Thanksgiving, and perhaps get home 2 weeks or so after that. He is a real trooper, and going into surgery as an otherwise healthy 58 year old man really helped. And this was after a summer of non-stop 5FU infusions of chemo for 4 weeks, oxaliplatin every other week for 5 weeks and daily radiation for 5 weeks. The path report after surgery came back clear, so the treatment worked.