Madi Update: She's in!

We left Madi in the OR about an hour ago.  She was in good spirits.  One of our dearest friends is her anesthesiologist for the whole day.  We are so, so grateful.  He came over on Monday night and sat with us, and then with her, addressing concerns and answering questions.  He spent so much time with us and really helped alleviate Madi's (well, all of our) nervousness about the surgery.  When Madi saw him this morning, she smiled and immediately  relaxed.  He started talking about Harry Potter and asked her what her Patronus would be.  For you Harry Potter illiterates out there, this is the spell that Harry uses to banish the Dementors (creatures who suck all hope and happiness out of people).  Every Patronus takes the form of some kind of animal.  Harry's was a stag, Hermione's was an otter,  Dumbledore's was a phoenix.  Madi said she didn't know what hers would be.  In order to conjure a Patronus, one has to learn how to focus intensely on the happiest moments of one's life.  Our friend asked Madi what her Patronus-conjuring memories would be and she immediately said "vacations witth my cousins." He told her to hang on to those memories during all this.  It was like he was speaking her language.  She felt at ease and was even calm as they gave her the IV, which was her biggest concern (oddly). I will forever be grateful to our friend for these small acts of service.

We have been told that Madi's surgeon is very meticulous.  The nurse said, "I would trust him with my child and that's saying a lot because nurses don't trust anyone!" :) He will be doing at least one MRI during surgery, but maybe more depending on if he has to go back in to remove more tumor. Every time they bring the machine out, they have to put all the instruments away (since they are all metal and the MRI is a huge magnet) and rearrange the room. So the surgery could take more than 8 hours.  Sounds like we are in for a long day.

My in-laws are home with our children, helping us keep order for them as much as possible.  I'm so grateful to my mom, who literally dropped everything and flew to our side after the first surgery, and Kurt's parents who also left everything and drove across the country to help with the second.  We feel so blessed.

One of the sweetest emails I got after Madi's first surgery was one from a nurse friend who listed all the specific things she was praying for.  They were things that I had not even thought to ask for before the surgery.  I remember weeping as I read the email, grateful that such specific things were being addressed, especially since we did not know to ask for them.

So this morning, as Kurt and I knelt by our bed and prayed, we were specific.  We prayed that the surgeon's hands would be guided.  That he would be deliberate, but wise.  That the cancer would pull away from the healthy tissue enough for the doctors to clearly see its outline and be able to remove it all.  We prayed that no lasting damage would result from the operation, that her motor and verbal skills would be spared both in the immediate and long-term.  We prayed that she would be safe from infection and that her recovery would be speedy.  We also prayed that we would all be at peace and comforted during the whole process.

I am quite sure that many of you are skeptical about all this fasting and praying.   I get it.  I often have a stong desire to satisfy the rational side of my brain that looks at all this religious stuff and thinks, "well, that's nice to say to people going through a hard time, but what is the reality of the situation?"  I know even engaging one's spiritual side can feel uncomfortable and foolish.  But read here or here or here to see that faith does actually have a measurable effect on healhcare and life expectancy.  Of course the underlying assumption in all of those articles is still that these feelings of hope and faith trigger physiological effects in our bodies and that is what causes the positive effects. However, I believe that our physical bodies are subject to our spirits and that our faith and prayers access a power that is unexplainable to heal and strengthen.  This is why we are so deeply grateful for the prayers and faith of those around us and those reading tthis blog.  This hope and faith are not just wispy clouds of positivity or trite greeting card sentiments to us. They really do make a difference, and in this case, we be believe it could be a huge one.  So, thank you- deeply- for believing or even wanting to believe.  We are indebted to all of you.  

More later.


ellen said…
That's interesting about the meticulous neurosurgeon. While my brother was having surgery on his brain tumor one of the nurses came out to check on my sister-in-law and me and told us that the doctor was very meticulous. We were so relieved. You don't want your neurosurgeon's shirt to be buttoned wrong or have mustard splotch on his pants, right? Neurosurgery is the place for meticulous people! I am praying for Madi and your family. And I'm doing the Brain Tumor Society bike ride on Sunday and am riding for Madi. heart ep

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