Thursday, December 14, 2006

December 14th - 17th: Bye Bye Tumor


Parent’s Note:

I could draw this narrative out and bury the one bit of information that you want to know somewhere toward the bottom of this journal entry, but that wouldn’t be very nice. So here it is right up front: Keith is tumorless and doing great.

Now rewind for the chronological details.


8:30 am. 36 hours since his last solid food. NPO since midnight. Amazingly still in good spirits right up to gown time. 10 am and Pre Op is ready. Feeling a little sad now. More releases to sign. Keith climbs into the wheelchair. “Do you want to wear the Santa Hat?” “Sure.” Lots of cheers as he rolls past the nurse’s station and into the elevator.


10:15 Holding area is very small. Dr. Sydorak greets Keith with a big smile. Keith tries to smile, but it’s hard. Keith asks: “Are you going to make sure that you put intestines back the way you found them?” Big smile from Dr. Sydorak. “Of course.” The anesthesiologists give Keith some Versed. Feeling much more calm now. “See you soon.” In exchange we get a beeper.

Post-Op / Recovery

1:45 pm. Dr. Sydorak explains to Josie and me that the operation went according to plan and Keith did great. We join Keith in recovery - a large bandage over his left side, still groggy and quite sore. He asks: “Did they save my kidney?” “Yes they did.” A sigh of relief. Keith is rigged up with a ‘magic button’ allowing him to administer his own pain medication through his central line.

Back Upstairs

to the same room we stayed in last night. No PICU. Keith tries to sleep – it really hurts to move and talk. So we’re quiet. Later Scott, Annie and Don stop by to greet Keith – still very quiet but happy to see them nonetheless.

A long day in a long journey. And a very good day indeed.... even though Keith might not think so right now.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2006 10:04 PM, PST

Parent’s Note:

It’s pretty late here at the hospital and Keith is awake, comfortable and watching a movie on his portable DVD player. From what I can tell he is feeling much better tonight than this morning and certainly much better than last night at this time. He hasn’t had to use the ‘magic’ morphine button for about nine hours and he even managed to get into the bedside chair while his linens were changed. It hurt but it was good for him (so they say). Still not any real food intake since Tuesday pm but there is an inkling of an appetite starting to re-emerge.

We really appreciate all of the well wishes in Keith’s guestbook yesterday. Thanks for taking the time to write so many notes.


“Whatever you do, don’t make me laugh. I don’t want to blow my dressing off.” Keith

Parent’s Note:

Keith is feeling soooooo much better today. All of the Keithianisms that we have come to love started to re-emerge during the course of the day including his trademark upside-down smile-frown that he later improvised into a new variant: an upside smile-frown-smile. As far as I know he is the only human and possibly the only mammal that can do it.

The first attempt to get out of bed this morning was aborted when he got twisted around, causing him a lot of pain (he points the finger squarely at me for that one). Later with Josie he allegedly got out of bed, walked around the room and then out into the hall for a quick lap.

He felt so good that wanted his computer on his lap for the first time since the operation and after reading a few emails he came across one from Annie that featured photos of polar bears and a penguin video. The ‘blow my dressing off’ comment came after watching the video, the link to which I provide for your entertainment in the event you haven’t already seen it. Evil Penguin I suppose my brothers might both draw some similarity between themselves as ‘victims’ and me as ‘perpetrator’. 'nuf said.


As far as in-hospital television programming, no Food Network this time around. It seems Sponge Bob is more entertaining (and I would have to agree). Finally, his appetite is returning, and he was given an upgrade from clear liquids to a soft foods diet. Keith interpreted this to mean sushi. So tomorrow he gets sushi from our spic ‘n span new Safeway, replete with a sushi chef who will soon enough come to recognize Keith as one of the store’s premiere customers.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2006 10:47 PM, PST

Parent’s Note:

In general, not much seems to happen around here (CHO) on Sundays and today was no exception. Keith sated his sushi appetite and managed to increase his overall food intake from yesterday’s levels substantially. A couple of laps around the hallways on the 5th floor under his own power, IV pole and all, and that pretty much sums up the highlights of the day. The nurses at the station over at the oncology unit always like to see Keith and invariably ask how he’s doing. I offered that he’s just not the same anymore without his tumor….

Hopefully Monday will bring some real productive activity. Keith is more than willing to give up his bed for someone else who needs it more than he does and would happily finish mending at home. We’ll see. My money is on a Tuesday discharge.

I snapped a couple of photos of Keith today with his current beads of courage inventory and I'll upload one of them soon. Heather had asked for a picture to post in the hallway on the “Beads of Courage” board. Compared to the last photo taken with his beads back in September I see three primary differences: 1) More beads. 2) Less hair. 3) Closer to being cancer free once and for all.

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