Still hamming it up. Oh how I love this man of mine and his ability to make the most of even the bumpiest of rides.

This will be an all-day 12-hour event. The OR nurse will call me every two hours with an update.

The first surgeon will put a feeding tube port directly into his stomach through the abdominal wall so that he will be able to get the nutrition he needs over the next couple of months. A tracheostomy will allow him to breathe and the goal is to be able to remove it before he leaves the hospital.

Two surgical teams will work together simultaneously to remove the tumorous tongue (glossectomy) and construct a free flap from a portion of his thigh muscle. They will also do a neck dissection to remove some of the lymph nodes in his neck. (Experience has shown that leaving the lymph nodes results in a 50% chance of recurrence in that area.)

We are so blessed to have access to these incredible teams of talented surgeons. Tony has also agreed to assist the research department by participating in a study designed to find better ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer.

If you have been following our story, you may recall that one of the CT scans showed a lesion on his liver. The follow-up MRI revealed that it is benign. 👍

Keep those prayers coming!

First Update: 11:30 am…

Nurse in surgery just called. Everything is going well. Tony’s vitals are all good. Dr. Monroe is working away at the dissection.

Second Update: 1:00 pm…

Dr. Monroe just tracked me down at the Bistro. (Hey, a girl needs to eat a salad.) Everything went smoothly and they are running ahead of schedule. There was nothing abnormal or unusual about the lymph nodes that were removed. Waiting on pathology to give the all clear on margins and reconstruction will begin.

Third Update: 1:52 pm…

Margins were clear of any tumor and reconstruction has begun. Tony is doing well.

Fourth Update: 3:30 pm…

Nurse shift change. John called to introduce himself and let us know the reconstruction is still under way and vitals are good.

Fifth Update: 5:50 pm…

The reconstructive surgeon is working under the microscope now. The muscle tissue has been removed from the thigh and placed in the mouth. The microscope guides the surgeon in matching up the veins to provide the flap with a blood supply. We are still looking at another 3 to 4 hours before Tony will be in his room in the ICU.

This is the board I’ve been staring at all day. Each patient is assigned a number and is color-coded with where they are from entering the facility to in recovery. The board was full earlier today and now it is nearly empty. We have finally changed from pink to blue. Progress!

Sixth Update: 6:54 pm…

Another ENT surgeon came on staff and is helping Dr. Bruchmann close, so things are moving along. We are on the home stretch of the surgery, folks! I’m also the only person left in the waiting area. (Tony’s mom Helen Palmer and sister Debbie Reed just left.)

Seventh Update: 7:58 pm…

Tony is out of the operating room and going through post-op procedures. Dr. Bruchmann came and visited with me and said the surgery went as expected and he feels really good about the work he was able to do today. He emphasized that this is a risky surgery and complications usually happen within the first two days. Tony is young and healthy, so he expects him to do well. The flap has tiny Dopplers embedded in it and the flow of blood sounds excellent. The anesthesiologist just came out and said Tony is awake but groggy and did great today. 👍

Eighth Update: 9:14 pm…

I’ve been trying to mentally prepare for the moment I would see Tony post-surgery for weeks. Still so hard to see him like this. He is now settled into his room in the ICU.