baby and me, Caledonia state park outing last week.
photo by Marian
photo by Marian
Last week's MRI showed a smaller, deader (necrotizing & hemorrhaging) tumor & our surgeon was very optimistic about preserving the function of his arm. Probably. It looks from the MRI like the tumor abuts (but doesn't surround/embed) the brachioplexus, the arm's big nerve center. Ay. He also described for us (Reuben & I) where the very long incision will go (across his right clavicle, into the armpit, zigzag up here, then down there, then go around to the back to catch the biopsy incision, which probably pulled up some cancerous cells so has to be removed...). Half the time we're really excited for this to be DONE--get that cancer! and half the time we're just sick and cold to our cores about it.
Reuben's surgery was moved to Tuesday, and we'll be leaving mid-day Monday for Philly because we need to get there in time for R to get his blood drawn for a transfusion cross-match. Just in case...or is that for sure? How much blood loss will there be? I keep trying to imagine his surgery, then stop myself, because why do I want to see that? I was really preoccupied by the blood that must be involved, but the surgeon reminded me they cauterize blood vessels to keep it a "clean, bloodless procedure." Ay, the pictures that flood my mind...
This was fascinating: the main way the pathologists can tell if the procedure yielded clean margins (ie, got it all) is to daub the whole removed mass with India ink, freeze it, and then examine the very thin slices. If a microscopic examination shows healthy cells between the malignant and black ink, we're good. If not...well, it continues. "We're good", by the way, still means "two to four more rounds of chemo." Okay, then, looking forward to 2010. "Twenty-ten! We begin again!" has a nice ring to it.
This was scary: the surgeon estimated we'd be in hospital for just 2 or 3 nights. No way I am going to be feeling comfortable about leaving at that point. But also I'm so excited that we might make it home to see the girls off to their first day of school. Including a middle-school girl catching the bus at 7:04 am.
This preoccupies me this week: what can I dress a bulky-wrapped, so-painful shoulder baby in? My mind immediately says: "Summer=nudie baby!" But I disagree with myself a bit because a layer of clothing will protect both dressing and mama's heart. I want to sew something, but am uncertain...I think a kimono-style top or three with extra-wide sleeves, especially since this book (see the cover photos) is currently mine from the library. The other obvious problem is when I will be doing this sewing.