Back at the bedside

Astute readers will have begun to see the pattern here; as “they” so often say, “no news is good news”, (though the Starks often say “dark wings, dark words”, which makes me glad we don’t send messages by raven anymore) and that certainly seems to be a pattern in my blogging through Davis’ journey.

It’s the Tuesday after an exceptionally busy Easter weekend, and I’m back writing bedside at the hospital in the late evening. You’ve had no updates on the blog since just after surgery, and the timing of that is...well it is what it is. Davis had surgery the week before Easter, which is one of the busiest weeks for any church worker, never mind my first as an ordained pastor.

I’ve been able to catch many of you up in person, which has been good, but there are many of you that we haven’t been able to connect with, so here’s the last 12 days condensed into a couple paragraphs for you. (I know, my painter self is trying to figure out just how that’s going to happen too...)

You can read a bit more detail in my last post, but to sum up: Davis had the surgery to resect the tumour on his liver last Thursday, April 10. He was in the OR for about 4 hours, and the surgery was very successful. They took the right lobe - pretty much half - his liver along with the tumour that was attached to it. They also took a very small mass attached to his diaphragm. which required just some small repair to the diaphragm.

Davis was in recovery just before noon that Thursday, spent the first night in ICU so they could keep a very close watch, and then spent the next 6 days on the surgical ward at Children’s Hospital.

Yup, only 7 nights spent in hospital after the surgery. They had told us it would be about a week, and as it got to be Monday/Tuesday, we were thinking there was no way he’d be ready to go Thursday-ish. He was making small gains every day, but they were small gains: more time spent awake, having a bite to eat (literally, a bite, not like when I tell our staff “I’m going home for a bite to eat at lunch”. That’s me being figurative. Here, I actually mean it literally: a bite.), sitting upright a little bit.

But he started to make enough gains that the surgical team signed off on him being discharged late Thursday afternoon. He was eating more, feeling better, and they felt it would be fine for him to be home.

And we also got some further, really good news from the surgeon on Tuesday or Wednesday morning: that the pathology had come back from what they had taken out of Davis, and they couldn’t find one live cancer cell anywhere. Not one. So the tumour was essentially dead tissue, and the cells that lit up on the PET scan were likely lit up due to inflammation and not as live cancer cells.

Davis has been making steadily good progress on all fronts, but to hear that from his surgeon was just such amazing news. It means the chemo had absolutely done its job, and now if there’s anything left, it’s microscopic and these next two rounds of chemo are intended to be clean-up.

I had to head back to Penticton Thursday morning, so it was left to Suzanne, with help from Grandma and Grandpa, to get him home. The plan was for me to be in Penticton for the weekend, getting back to Vancouver Sunday evening after preaching on Sunday morning. But Thursday brought a couple small complications -- nothing super-serious, but enough to cause a significant amount of stress. So I headed back down to Vancouver Friday morning after our Good Friday service, traveling with our older kids and my mom to bring them down to Vancouver for the weekend.

It was great to have our family together for Friday and most of Saturday before I needed to head back to Penticton to get ready for Sunday morning. We decided that I should fly back Sat. afternoon, then also back to Vancouver Sunday, rather than driving the stretch 4 times in 4 days.

I’m glad I did that, though telling the story to my seatmates on the plane made for some interesting conversation.

“So where’s home?”

“Penticton. I’m heading there for tomorrow, then back to Vancouver later tomorrow.”

“So you’re going to say hi to your family for Easter?”

“No they’re in Vancouver.”

“Oh, so you live in Vancouver?”

“No, they’re just visiting there, but I’m going back home for the morning then heading back here.”

“Oh...uh...ok”

Yeah. That took a while to sort out in their minds, I think.

So we enjoyed a big family day Sunday night and yesterday with our immedate family all together, plus Nana and Papa, Grandma and Grandpa, and Suzanne’s sister Nicole and her family, who were in town as well.

And now, after one of the busiest weekends I can remember ever having, things settled back into our Vancouver routine again as Davis started round 5 of chemotherapy. Nana and Papa took our older kids back home today while Suzanne and I took Davis back to the hospital for day 1 of this round.

And so we should now be able to head home again on Sunday after this round is done, then back here again in two weeks for what we hope will be the last round. Then it’ll be some monitoring after that, but we could very well be coming up on the tail end of this journey.

I’ll write more now this week, so that I don’t have to write novel-length posts. But for now I just want to highlight the amazing job the surgical team did, and to point out the extraordinary skill and work the surgeons and all the support team have and do. I wouldn’t wish medical trouble on any child, but if any child has to go through it, BC Children’s Hospital provides the highest level of care. We heard that when we first came down here, and we’ve certainly seen that be true for us.

Thanks for making it this far with me tonight, and Easter blessings to you all.

“Christ is risen!”

“He is risen indeed!”

“Alleluia!”

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