Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Sean underwent his second RPLND surgery today. The first one that he had was done nearly a year ago with Dr. Child's in Salt Lake. This time we came out to Indianapolis and the surgery was performed by Dr. Stephen Beck. In the consultation with him yesterday, we felt reassured that he knew what he was going to be doing and that he felt confident in his own skills as a surgeon, which was important to us. This man has done many of these surgeries, works with Dr. Foster, and has published a lot of literature on the surgery as well, so he's definitely an authority on the RPLND surgery. We got the sense that we were in good hands.

I arrived at Indiana University Medical Center this morning at 7 am with Sean and my mom, Susan, to get him registered and to go through all of the pre-op stuff that needs to be done (IV placement, vital signs, consent forms, etc). We said goodbye to Sean at 9 am this morning and they took him back to put him under anesthesia. Faith met us in the surgery waiting room and we received updates from a nurse about every 2 hours on his condition. The reports were always normal and they said that he was doing just fine throughout the progress of the surgery. From the time they made the incision (which was about an hour after they put him under) to the time they closed him up was 6 hours....that's a LONG surgery! So it's 5 pm now and we've been here since 7 am....that's a LONG day for us! Sean is in recovery right now as I write this and we'll meet up with him in his room in about an hour or so.

Dr. Beck said that it took about 2 hours for him to get past all of the scar tissue from Sean's previous RPLND and said that once he got to the point where he could actually start removing tissue, things went very smoothly. He reported that there was some tissue that needed to be removed that was right up against the wall of the vena cava which is the artery that supplies blood back to the heart. Because of this, Dr. Beck had to actually clamp the arteries, and cut off the section of the vena cava that had the bad tissue on it. He then was able to sew the artery back up, had it checked by a vasuclar surgeon for a 2nd opinion, and found that everything was great and that Sean was still doing fine. Dr. Beck removed (to our understanding) all of the lymph nodes in Sean's abdomen, on the right and left sides. This was done to help ensure that if there were any traces of cancer cells on any of those areas that they have been removed from his body. Let's pray that this is the end!!!

All in all the surgery went very well. Aside from being lengthy, everything went as expected. Sean only lost a small amount of blood, which is completely normal for surgery, and has another tube down his nostril that will help keep the gas and bile from irritating his stomach. He will have that removed in the morning (although he'll be so out of it the rest of the the evening that he won't even notice it's there) and will be allowed to start sipping on things tomorrow in the afternoon/evening. They expect him to be able to leave the hospital on Sunday or Monday and we plan to be home mid-end of next week.

It's a relief to have this surgery out of the way and behind us once again. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we face the road ahead. We're not sure what the next step in his medical treatment will be and Dr. Einhorn will collaborate with Dr. Chandramouli to decide what the best options for Sean are in seeking a cure. We'll see all of you at home soon, and thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Karen, thank you SO MUCH for keeping us posted on Seans health and his surgery. We know you are all worn out and we didn't want to call and disturb you (hopefully you're getting some rest while Sean is recovering)... Please keep us posted and let us know when we can call you and Sean. Also, please tell your Mother that we appreciate her being there with you. I KNOW this is killing Jeff and Kathy not being there with you too. Sean is there "baby boy" and they appreciate your love for him.
You are ALL in our thoughts and prayers. All our love, Aunt Laura, Grandpa Martella and the rest of the Martella's xoxoxoxoxo