After checking Steve out this morning, Dr. Kim made the decision to go ahead with the surgery to place his port-a-cath. He had the surgery at around 1 pm this afternoon. Dr. Kim said he nailed it! Perfect placement of the port and no complications. Although he could have arranged to go home after the surgery, Steve decided to return to his room to recover. He had been struggling with a headache, neck ache and nausea.
We debated whether to stay another day or go home and switch to oral antibiotics. After much thought, prayer, and consultation with our doctors we decided it would be best to stay another day so that Steve had 5 days of the IV antibiotics before heading home. At that time he would switch to 7 more days of Augmentin just to be sure we have nipped this infection in the bud.
Steve and Dr. Kim after surgery today
Steve woke up today and was encouraged by the fact that his swelling in his leg is down and the amount of lymph fluid in his JP (Jackson-Pratt drain bulb) was greatly reduced. Unfortunately he went to be last night thinking that he was in a free fall, spiraling out of control. You see, I did some research online yesterday and found out some disturbing information. If the lymph fluid does not stop draining, Steve could end up suffering from a chronic condition called Lymphedema. Dr. Liao told us to day that if Steve did end up with Lymphedema, it could turn out to be more of a problem then the Lymphoma! Steve's Lymphoma stands a good chance of being cured, but Lymphedema does not have a cure. Patients with Lymphedema suffer with inflammation in the extremities that often lead to Cellulitus -- an infection of the skin most often due to Staph or Strep bacteria. Elephantitus is an extreme form of Lymphedema. His surgeon, Dr. Kim, is encouraged by the reduction in lymph fluid and does not feel that Steve has that condition or will develop that condition. We remain hopeful that Steve's tissues will grow back together and that his Lymph fluid will find a new route through his body instead of pooling in his leg.
This is a good example of Steve's JP Drain.
Steve holding his JP Drain -- You can see the Lymph Fluid in the Bulb
Dr. Liao also told us that Steve will not begin his Chemo this Friday. He wants to wait some time to be sure the infection is completely gone. Starting Chemo with an active infection can kill a person. Dr. Liao does not want to take any chances and we appreciate his cautious approach greatly. Steve has his boxing gloves on and is ready to fight this cancer with all his might. However, standing outside the boxing ring is a new opponent. This new enemy's name is not cancer; his name is Lymphedema. We pray that this opponent would not even get a chance to enter into the ring but would be put to death now. Please join us in unleashing the wrath of God upon this mortal enemy by joining us in prayer!
Please pray that:
- The lymph fluid finds a new path in Steve's body and that the drainage would stop.
- His tissue on his leg, where the fluid had formally been collecting, would fuse back together.
- Steve's infection would be completely gone and would not recur.
- Dr. Kim and Dr. Liao would have wisdom and understanding in determining the best treatment for Steve.
- The cancer would be cured and would not spread in Steve's body.