Judy's surgery today went well.
Dr Gavin from Team Neuro installed a shunt at the back of her head to provide a release for excess brain pressure caused by cerebrospinal fluid not being drained properly, and installed an Ommaya reservoir at the front of her head for chemotherapy and for repeated future testing for cancerous nasties. As I mentioned in an earlier story, both required stabbing tubes (gently) through her beautiful brain.
As I publish this story I know that there will be a lot of relieved people among those following Judy's metastatic breast cancer ordeal. I am chief among you. Like you, I'm very relieved, but I still wait with bated breath over the days and weeks ahead.
This is the first step in addressing the issue, after all.
She's not going to be given some hospital sandwich corners and be sent hangrily on her way to recover elsewhere, like a day procedure. This is major, tricky unusual stuff they've needed to do, so we haven't asked how long she'll be in hospital. It'll be a while. And how long will depend on Judy.
Dr Rob said it won't be that long, maybe a couple of days, until the first chemotherapy can be injected by him into the Ommaya reservoir.
There is also a CT scan scheduled this evening to double check everything is alright, and if it looks good will give the all clear for her to sit up in bed.
Immediately preceding surgery, Dr Gavin and his Team Neuro completed getting all of their surgical ducks lined up ready for "go" today.
MRI, go. Theatre, go. Keyhole surgery guy, go. Hardware, go. CT 3D model, go. Dr Ron, go. Dr Rob, go.
Flight, we are go for ... unbelievably consuming apprehension. Wait... Fear... Emotion... Hope... Trust.
I watched Apollo 13 for the umpteenth time last night in advance, as a distraction, so forgive the NASA-speak. Odd and coincidental references over the past few days led me to this old movie.
Like the successful failure that was the Apollo 13 mission that aimed for the moon, yet never got there, there were many unplanned changes and moving parts to getting Judy to the events of this day, with the ultimate clear and present sole aim of bringing her safely back home to our family, odds be damned. Circumstance be damned.
Damn this circumstance.
"Dr Gavin suggested I have a good night's sleep and we'll go for it in the morning. I suggested, with gravity, that he do the same."
As a mother duck perfectly lining up her ducklings for their outing today, Dr Gavin orchestrated things brilliantly.
There was Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of her spine to make sure there were no nasty tumour surprises that could be the cause of some slight weakness in her left hand side, revealed by Dr Ron.
There was finding a suitable operating theatre time slot to get the job done as soon as possible.
There was scheduling a general surgeon to take care of a bit of keyhole surgery plastic plumbing. (When surgeons do this kind of procedure they like to leave as little impact on the body as possible, and keyhole surgery is king at that.)
Dr Gavin needed to schedule a guy to plumb the end of his delicate brain-drain somewhere appropriate in Judy's beautiful abdomen.
Bits and pieces needed ordering, as this kind of surgery is not common-all-garden.
And fascinating was a CT (Computed Tomography scan) to build a 3D model of Judy's beautiful brain and beautiful head to aid Dr Gavin in his surgery, customised to her very beautiful and unique form.
All of us look subtly different externally, even though we're all human beings. And it follows that all of us are subtly different on the inside, too, even though everything is roughly in the same place.
These 3D models allow surgeons to customise tricky stuff they do for each and every person, and adapt tried and true approaches as it happens during surgery.
Very cool. And done.
To seriously mix a metaphor, her ducks were go, and she was lined up for launch.
"I want a big cliché bandage around my head after all of this... I'd be so pissed off with just a band-aid."
And here is me, figuratively shitting myself...
Wondering at possibilities, and maybes and... And then I think of Dr Rob's relaxed face in the face of all this shit and know it will be OK.
It will be OK.
And it was.
"I love you to the moon and back, my soul mate."