The Dirty Little Details (of Nick’s HIPEC Surgery Adventure)


I know that you all have been patiently waiting for additional details and thank you for that patience. :] The Wifi at the hospital has been out of service since we got here and I just don’t possess the thumb power to write a huge post like this on my iPhone – sorry folks! ;] Now you can sit back and relax and read all the details of our adventures at Creighton University Medical Center (CUMC). Seriously, relax! It all turns out very well! :]

SURGERY: Surgery day was yesterday and everything went pretty well, considering. Nick’s surgery began at right around 7:30am. I got to meet the team of about 10 people that would be working on Nick throughout the procedure. I was able to stick with him up pretty close to the start. But, they had to do an injection of morphine right into Nick’s spine and had to kick me out at that point. This injection rwquired Nick to sit up so that they could get the right angle and truthfully sounded a little scary. The morphine was necessary though as it would numb the abdominal area and ended at 2:30pm , so 7 hours (short and sweet for a surgery of this magnitude).  He was very brave the whole way through the discussion of the surgery and the build up to our “see-ya-laters” but when I finally really had to go and after quite a few ‘I love yous’ we both started to get a bit misty eyed. Fortunately, they was swept away before any tears actually came into formation. Waiting around turned out to be a lot more peaceful than I expected. The Lord was definitely with us and gave all of us (myself, my mother, Nick’s dad and twin sister) an understanding that no matter what, all would be well. There was a lot of reading, some napping and a bit of pacing in our waiting room party that day. We really appreciated the updates from Dr. Loggie’s team throughout the surgery and have been continually impressed by the caliber of the staff around this place.

OUTCOME: There were a couple of masses found (one on his rectum and another on his omentum – the fatty apron that hangs down to cover your organs). I was a little confused, but believe a couple other smaller masses were also found that had attached to the inside of his abdominal wall. It looks like this is all that was left behind from his original surgery, which is great! Because, that means that most of the mucin and cancer was probably contained within the lower abdomen. Dr. Loggie suspects that the mass found on Nick’s rectum was possibly just something that was left behind and fell down there during/after the last surgery. He thinks it looked a little suspicious but the initial fast freeze path came back benign (which means there is a good chance that the real path – which will take about a week to process – will come back negative as well)! Yippeee! Dr. Loggie chose to treat this mass as though it is benign, considering the quicky pathology and therefore, left everything in tact down there after removing the mass. A small portion of his colon was removed as well as any and all of the masses found and part of his omentum. I know that you aren’t all immersed in this world of psuedomyxoma peritonea, but we are and let me just tell you… If you have to be in the arena of having a perforated mucinous cancerous appendix, then we are in about the best place that we could be! This is NOTHING compared to what many people go through and we feel very blessed and very fortunate at the outcome of this treatment so far!

COMMENCING RECOVERY: Nick is doing really well! He walked four times around the ICU floor today, less than 24 hours after his surgery. His heart rate has been a bit elevated and he is running a low fever but the doctors don’t seem overly concerned. I guess that both can be associated with long surgeries and also HIPEC in general. Because the chemo is heated to 105 degrees and kept at that temperature as it circulates through his abdomen for an hour and a half, his body definitely has to work to get everything back down to a normal temperature. Also, pain and chemotherapy treatments can elevate your heart rate. So, like I said, they are not overly concerned, but they did elect to keep him in the ICU for another night – just so they can keep a closer eye on him. I’m happy for this because it’s always better to be on the safe side. :] His incision is about a foot and a half long, running from his sternum to his pelvic bone. They used staples to close him up temporarily during chemo so the little holes are still there, all lined up like soldiers, but the final closure was done with glue and the wound seems to be healing really really well. Some of the things we didnt expect from recovery: 1. They used stunts in his bladder during surgery, so his urine is a bit rosy from some blood but apparently that is totally normal. 2. He cant eat until he passes gas (today was the THIRD full day without any food – or anything other than water and ice chips). 3. His incision site is very sensitive to even the slightest touch (we are thinking about getting him a tee-shirt that reads “Side Hugs Only”). 4. Morphine makes Nick itchy. (There are probably a lot more but I’m too tired to think of them. If you are planning on getting the surgery please feel free to ask questions and we will give you the best answers that we can, from the patient side of things. We would love to help – just comment below!)

FUTURE TREATMENT: We don’t know what’s next; other than that we have to have a discussion about intravenous chemo in the near future. This is going to be a tough decision and one that will take us some time to mull over. However, we will not be crossing this bridge until we have all the path reports back, have discussed options with specialists, done more research and, of course, prayed our booties off. We will definitely let you all know once we decide, but for the interim, we will be simply focusing on the day-to-day and just getting Nick better.

TONIGHT: I’m currently sitting in a hard itty bitty chair with my laptop perched on the end of Nick’s hospital bed. Last night, I convinced the nurses to let me sleep in the ICU with Nick. It was pretty much opposite of comfortable, but I got about 4 total hours of sleep and it was totally worth it to be here. I have places that I can sleep elsewhere; places with beds (instead of small chairs) and jammies (instead of dirty jeans) and bathrooms (that arent in another wing of the building) and comfy down pillows – but, Nick and I have always been attached at the hip. And… it doesnt look like cancer is going to change that. I love being here with him. Even though we are going through something that was previously an unimaginable part of our future, I am just so happy and so content to be sitting by him as he sleeps and dreaming of the future to come. He has color is in his cheeks and he looks absolutely beautiful and extremely strong. He is going to be great! I have no doubt that he is going to beat this. I have no doubt that he will continue to smile through it all and trust in the Lord.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

his love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1 NIV

EXTREME THANKS: We have SO much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving… Way too much to name, but we really want to thank those of you who have been praying over the past few months (MONTHS! Can you believe it? It’s been almost two months since Diagnosis Day). During a short thirty seconds when Nick woke about an hour ago, I asked him what he would want me to include this post. Apparently, he is already in the spirit of the season; He said he wanted to… “thank you for all the prayers and please keep praying.” (And, proceeded to fall right back to sleep.) He will definitely be going through some tough pain, extreme fatigue and new challenges over the next few weeks and months and he so appreciated the help that we have gottne so far. People committing their time, thier finances, their prayers – we are seriously so extremely humbled and grateful. So, again, from the bottom of our hearts: Thank YOU!

Alright. That’s all for now. I will update you all again as soon as I have another chance… Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! Never forget all that you’ve been blessed with. (I sure hope that I never do!)

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  1. virgilbourassa says:

    SOOOO glad to hear it went so well! Thank you for the update. I’ll be toasting his continued health and long life today at Thanksgiving dinner. Nick couldn’t hava a better “hip-attachment.” Love, Virgil

  2. collins13008 says:

    I’m going to get Nick a tee shirt that says…Help…I have rosy pee and can’t toot! I love that you share every detail and leave nothing out. Makes us feel like family. See you tomorrow!

  3. Sherri Sunshine McQuarrie says:

    Alyssa & Nick, Thank you so much for your courage and your faith and for sharing this adventure with us – it is truly a blessing to read this post and be reminded of how much we have to be grateful for, not just today but everyday that we live to see another sunrise. You and your family are in my prayers still and I’ve no doubt that God has you both securely under His wing and is walking this walk along side each of you. Your testimony is affirmation of His Grace and I pray that the Fruits of the Spirit are wrapped around you this Thanksgiving like a warm fluffy blanket on a cold winter’s night!God Bless! Sherri Sunshine (a Friend of Jacki’s)

  4. Melody Brown Kieffer says:

    So wonderful to hear you are both doing well. Josh let us know some of the details and we truly gave thanks yesterday (and everyday) that the Lord is watching over you. Morphine makes me itchy too! In fact, every kind of narcotic pain killer makes me want to itch my skin off. If I ever have surgery they have to pump me full of benedryl and then give me the pain killer. Talk about being in la-la land!Give Nick a side hug from the Kieffers!

  5. Alyssa Magnotti says:

    Melody! I gave Nick your guys’ side hug! :] Hope you’re all well and thank you so much for all of your help!

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