I am the ‘E’ Ed refers to often, and the writer of our travelogues, recipes, poems etc. I am his husband who is here to report on his health status. Bottom-line, the surgery for the cancer seems to have been a major success. When, after the six-hour surgery last Friday, I first saw walking toward me a smiling doctor, I said, "You must be exhausted (given the surgery was supposed to be only four hours). He quickly replied, "Actually, I am jazzed! I met in every way all the objectives I had for Ed's surgery. He is going to be great."
So it seems that the doctor and Ed were deemed to have success through the doctor's knowledge and skill; Ed's positive attitude; and all folks’ good wishes, many emails of encouragement from around the world (which Ed read faithfully as I forwarded them to him and even read to him as we waited last Friday for the anesthesiologist), and certainly the many prayers from almost every religious perspective that you, our wide range of global friends, represents. Thanks to all of you for your interest, concern, and love.
Our surgeon believes he removed all the cancer, having been able to take out enough of the rectum as well as the lymph nodes surrounding the tumor hopefully to remove any wandering cancer cells. He hopes and expects that biopsy reports will confirm that the surrounding lymph nodes were cancer-free, which, if true, will indeed mean no chemotherapy or radiation. He was able to do some of the surgery by laparoscopy (aiding recovery), but he did have to do some hand-assisted surgery to suture the large intestine to the sphincter valve. He then did the necessary steps for a temporary (probably two months or so) ileostomy in order to allow the colon to heal thoroughly before being put back to use.
Ed has had this week multiple tubes coming out everywhere. We entered together the prep area last Friday morning at 6:24 a.m. I got to stay with him until 8 a.m., which included a final visit with our incredibly nice surgeon. The surgery began around 10 a.m.. I got a notice at 1:30 that things were going well but would take two hours more than expected. I and Ed's parents saw the surgeon as he came out of the operation about 4:10. I finally welcomed Ed to his large, single hospital room at 8 p.m. He was totally alert, joking, and relatively pain free. We talked a lot. He just then just held my hand for about two hours as nurses came and went constantly. All are extremely gracious and kind with him and are both men and women of every age, color and ethnic background (very San Francisco!).
The last few days have gone remarkably well. Ed has mostly reported the pain level at about a ‘2’ on a 10-point scale. He has been walking around the hallway a couple times a day since the first day after surgery. Slowly and each day, more tubes are coming out of his body. He had nothing to eat or drink the first three days but this morning, he is up to ‘soft foods’ (i.e., cream of wheat, mashed fruit, one piece of white toast). He now knows how and is adept at managing his ileostomy quite well. Overall, he, I and all the doctors/nurses could not be more happy of his progress.
We do expect he will be coming home tomorrow from the Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco. He will then be totally off from work until at least the end of the year or even the middle of January. Sometime in late winter or early spring, he will return to have follow-up surgery and another hospital stay to remove the ilestomy and return him to normal functioning.
Again, thanks for all your support. Look forward soon for Ed to be back to blogging.