Surgery Today

Went to hospital for Bobbi to register at 7:30. Sean came with us. Jim, lori, Jeff and Chrissy soon arrived. At 8:30 they took her back to prep then allowed us to visit with her for an hour. Bobbi was cheerful and hiding her real emotions behind humor.

We’d look at each other and had a hard time not tearing up at the same time. Monitors were hooked up, wires, things I had no idea what they were. As she visited I simply rubbed the side of her head where new hair was starting. We spoke the same language to each other with our eyes. I remained quiet, taking in everything that was going on. Wanted her to spend the time with her family and son. The surgeon came in and explained what was going to take place, said a prayer around the bed. I was as at a loss for words. The journey has been hell and she has fault so hard to live and never balked this entire time with countless trips of chemo and pre-operative instructions. She truly is a warrior. The week leading up to this was difficult. Having the kids visit helped a lot. Now everything is resting on text messages that the surgical room is sending letting me know what’s going on.

The first text said the surgery begin at 11:18. The first thing the surgeon is doing is checking her liver out to doubly make sure there are no tumors. Then the procedure will take place.

Second text at 12:11 said no spots on liver. Surgery is continued.

I’m in the hospital chapel as I write this. The next thing I knew 5 or 6 people came in and a service began. Lasted about 20 minutes. Didn’t know when to stand, sit, kneel, or what to say back as it seemed everyone said the same thing by memory at certain times. Respectfully tried to do the same. With Easter this Sunday I think it was in relation to it. Pastor talked about Judas.

All of this feels surreal right now. My every thought is on Bobbi and flashbacks of simpler times. I’m so fortunate to have our paths cross 25 years ago. This experience has brought us closer in a million ways. About 80 minutes have passed and still quite a long wait to go.

Going to get something to eat now, meet back up with everyone. Know many are praying for her and in their thoughts. Many well wishes received this morning. A very touching one was sent by her nephew Cole. It meant a great deal to both of us.

5:51pm – Surgery is done. A complete success. All areas around were clean. Portal vein area inflamed. No ICU unit. Will be up and talking in 2 hours. Will be taking it easy today with rest, tomorrow walking. Good 3 to 4 days with drains. Everything that had to go right went right. Thank God. Twisty is gone. 100% successful! Not out of the woods yet but certainly see the trail and sunlight. Back in the chapel giving thanks. Thank you to everyone. When the going got tough you helped her in ways no others could!

Update March 28, 2018

Doing better than expected. Numbers all look good. No complications. Walking a lot, trying to do everything herself with no help but you know how she is! Miss. determination woman. Watching her sleep today was nice. She had a calm look that I haven’t seen in a long time. Family was here visiting and a good friend she grew up with. So glad Twisty had its ass kicked and out of there. Will continue to update this post with news. Thank you for the love and messages here on and on Facebook. She’ll have a few more months of chemotherapy when healed. Not sure what cocktail blend or type, all that will be decided later I’m sure.

March 31, 2018,

Sean and I went to the hospital yesterday morning and quickly learned that she was cleared to leave! Unbelievable. 70 some hours after surgery and she walks out the door. Last night she walked the hallways here at the Lodge and watched CD movies available from their large selection in a study room.

About 5:00am I woke to find her out of bed and sitting in the recliner. Asked her how long she’d been up and she said only a few minutes! Somehow or another I just knew she wasn’t in bed.

Today her sister Chrissy visited and spent some good quality time together. Sean went to Meijers food market and stocked up with soft foods. Bobbi also decided to tackle 3 sets of stairs! I was like….WTF? Seriously? It felt so good to sleep together. We have nothing planned for the next week. We leave Grand Rapids in 9 days after seeing her surgeon for follow up visit. Things are going very well. She is getting up and down like nothing took place.

 

The Envelope

Last Thursday we learned that we could get the results of the CT scan directly from the medical department here in the Soo. So we did. When we got home both were very hesitant to open the envelope. If past liver spots (which had been told a number of times were probably Mets) present, the upcoming surgery on the 27th would be called off. It felt surreal to have ones fate and futures on a single sheet of paper waiting to be opened.

Bobbi – “

The envelope. Today Mike and I went to medical records and requested my CT scan .. How many peoples right to life lay on a sheet of paper , a scan a test result? I was afraid to open it I was shaking inside but tried to remain cool. It is what it is was my mental preparation for a potential death sentence. Pancreatic cancer diagnosis is not something you wish for. 5 in 100 survival rate of 5 years. Never did I think why me but at times it took all I had to get through the day. I had decided when the liver spots appeared and heard appears to be Mets that my options were few. I had a biliary stent fall out early on that made me think chemo would be almost an impossible feat.

Looking back had Mike not contacted my oncologist team I would not be here to write. Liver spots have come and gone. Whipple surgery not for me until I heard chemo indefinitely. Chemo was kicking my ass. I was becoming weaker with each treatment. It was getting harder to walk and pick things up. I was having difficulty writing and could no longer snap my fingers. I refused to nap and continued to push beyond my energy level. Went to visit with my mom when nurse navigator from GR called. When I got home Mike told me with surgery I would most likely be cancer free after surgery. May need chemo or radiation but won’t know until operation is done. I cried with tears of hope.

My brother and I both born on the same day three years apart both with cancer both receiving good news on the same day. He had reoccurring jaw cancer. Had big surgery 4 years prior. This will be a little less invasive since won’t have to retrieve lymph nodes. A second surgery never good news but when dealing with cancer the good news for cancer patient no spread is the best one can hope for.

Nervous and anxious. So thankful for all the love, prayers, and support. “

Getting Bobbi ready for the fight of her life has left us both drained but feeling positive. I’ve shared that this woman has not quit in her DNA and she’s showing it each day. Walking further each day, weight training, and quite evenings.

Have learned so much from her friends and family throughout this. Each have played a huge role in this battle. Will sign off for now and share more after her surgery. Kids will be visiting today, minus Jen. She unfortunately came down with the flu. Miss her lots but know she’ll be here in spirit and prayers! Aiden’s birthday too today, turned 12-years-old. Party with his favorite cake. CC driving here. The kids are sure growing up quickly! Thank you everyone for the love and support! Bobbi’s is going to beat this! Twisty soon to be decimated! The surgery is called a Whipple procedure. This is what it involves — https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancreaticoduodenectomy

We’ll be Home Soon

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We’ve been getting ready for the end of the month taking small steps. Getting all the chemo out of Bobbi’s system. First few walks consisted of 40 yards, the next day 50, and so forth. Now it’s usually twice a day for a pretty good distance. Had a nice weekend visiting with Lori and Jim in southern Michigan. The rubber separated from the wheel rim going about 55mph on the trip there. Made for an interesting moment. On the way we stopped at the Mackinac Bridge where “Blue Ice”, which doesn’t happen very often, accumulated along the shore. Was a nice break. Showed how beautiful nature can paint the landscape. Never seen anything like it before.

Waiting for things to take place is agonizing. When every thought is on one thing it’s trying. Bobbi has good days and others more challenging. Yet I know she’ll be ready both physically and emotionally for surgery on the 27th. Sean, Jen, the grandkids, will be visiting the 22nd to 25th so that’ll be nice. With this down time I think a lot about different events and things that have taken place in our lives together the past 25 years. She’s been a real godsend in my life.

In my early years I had absolutely no idea what a home was. I knew what it wasn’t, but not what it was, or should write “is”. The county social services removed me from the house I lived in at nine. My siblings and I are all survivors without getting into details why. For me it was foster homes, shelter homes, etc. At the age of 18 I was on my own. I took off like a caged dog breaking loose of its chain. Put my feet in the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico. The word home had no real meaning. It was always onto the next new place.

That was until I met Bobbi. After meeting her I learned a lot about it. Once a year we traveled the eight hour trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, bringing her home to visit her family. This was important to her so it became important to me. I always told her we’ll get her home at least once a year. When you love somebody you naturally want to see them happy. I always promised to her that I’d get her home. In time I felt part of the family and looked forward to seeing everyone. Oh, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. But family always seems to find a way to make things work.

Eventually we married and bought a house together in Wisconsin. It wasn’t anything particularly fancy or extravagant, it was about 80 years old. It took a lot of work and money in making it comfortable. She worked the soil and I hammered. It wasn’t long before we heard the piddle – paddle of little feet running up and down the stairs. Grandchildren. We marked their heights and dated them on the kitchen doorway frame. It had all the feeling never felt before of a home. Our travels slowed down, and cookouts with family, and Christmas concerts became our adventures.

Before this we each drove motorcycles and took a lot of trips. Northern Wisconsin terrain is thick deep forests with lots of wild animals. Not tigers and lions but deer, raccoons, skunks, etc. Fall rides often cold and wet. Many a ride I remember her tucking herself behind my back, hands in my coat pocket, trying to stay warm. I’d tell her “we’ll be home soon”. My own hands and fingers seemingly frozen to the handlebars feeling like ice. Not pleasant. I kept my eyes on the road and hand twisting the throttle. In the winter weather can be brutal. Ice and hail storms, random blizzards. Driving a car during the midst of a storm is challenging. Bobbi would sometimes shut her eyes listen to my promise of “we’ll be home soon”. While often being unsure about when but driving accordingly to see that it happen. Everyone’s been there in their lives. The sigh of relief when finally pulling into your driveway after a long trip. Bad weather having made it more difficult.

When Bobbi first became ill, while still living in Wisconsin, I knew it was time to bring her home again, permanently. I knew the kids would have a difficult time comprehending this. They were family so why move to family? She needed the tranquil sounds of water, where her siblings and mother lived, Michigan. I don’t know why. Just knew that it was important. I drove her to Michigan and returned to Wisconsin to sell our home, packed what belonging would fit into a large U-haul, giving the rest away, and Sean drove it to Michigan. I stayed behind to take care of remaining business and soon joined her. I had no idea what we were doing, just knew that it was the right call at the right time.

Soon after we got settled into our new home Bobbi was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. A “WTF” moment for sure! All the unknown became crystal clear then though. Maneuvering through this has been a road neither have traveled on. My cardiac battle is pale to this experience. A storm of a different type that no weather pattern can be compared to. After thousands of miles, many different hospitals, 5 months of chemotherapy, now a major surgery March 27th. I don’t exactly know how we’ll get through it, but I do know that she’ll be home again. We have a whole lot more of living to do. Just because you don’t know the exact road map to your destination doesn’t mean you won’t get there. Somethings are simply figured out on the way. Sometimes you just have to “wing it” and keep your eyes on the prize.

Spring is close. Time for renewal and seeing life blossom again around us. The same is true for Bobbi. Surgeons will finally decimate Twisty. Been one hell of a long fall and winter. So proud of her. She is one tough woman. She IS bringing the fight to this. I can’t express enough the appreciation felt to everyone whose helped us during this time. Thank you.