Friday, January 11, 2013

Just talked to Dr. McGonigle

6:05 PM
Just got done talking with Dr. M.  Cancer was present in both ovaries and had spread throughout the abdominal cavity to many small sites, as far away as the underside of the diaphragm (the separation between the thoracic (lung) and abdominal cavities.  She said that it didn't penetrate the diaphragm, that it was just on the surface of it.  Took out numerous small pieces of cancer in the omentum (abdominal fat area), diaphragm.  Total surgery time: 5 hours, 29 minutes.

Dr. M. said that the results were "optimal" as far as surgery for ovarian cancer goes, which sounds pretty good to me.  Often, the longer the surgery, the better because that means the doctor feels that there are sites to work on whereas if things are really grim, they sometimes take a look and close up.  So we like the long surgery time!

I had previously thought that she would be getting chemo during the operation, but I was mistaken.  The plan is to get that soon, but not right away.  She has been given an access port in the right lower abdomen.  Anticipate that she will be able to get the treatments in Dr. M's office which is nearby.

So, that's it in a nutshell.  Gabrielle is in recovery right now (not the AA kind, the post surgery kind).  Anticipate she will be there for about an hour then move upstairs.  Very nice, Harvard trained anesthesiologist worked with her and has given her an epidural for pain control along with an IV for additional pain control (PCA--"patient controlled analgesia" which isn't patient controlled at this point but a regular drip).  He also set her up with some great anti-nausea measures including a nifty gizmo on her wrist that is a small electrical unit to diminish the nausea.  Dr. M. indicated that many of her patients are on marijuana tea or cookies (or other forms).  I doubt that we'll see Gabrielle frequenting the "Green Medical" clinics on Aurora any time soon, but who knows?

When asked about hospital time, Dr. M. said that since the bowel surgery was not necessary, she may be able to leave sooner than anticipated one week from now.  Said she may be able to leave Monday, but I will be surprised if it is that soon, given the extent of her surgery and all.

Haven't talked to Wonder Woman yet, but am very eager to do so.  Daniel is planning on spending the night with her tonight (go, Daniel, you rock!!!).

As an aside, Dr. M. was working with a fellow, Dr. Sato.  In this context, fellow means someone getting additional training, not the "hale, fellow well met sort of fellow".  On her lapel, she was sporting  the niftiest lapel pin: a smiling uterus and ovaries, all nice and pink.  We liked it so much that we got online and ordered 20 (and probably many more too!).  If you are interested, the little uterus can be seen on the "I love guts" website.  I don't know exactly as the kids did it.  I like the little fella because it looks like a cheerful little cyclone wearing boxing gloves (which is a better view of ovaries than the Dodge Ram logo which also looks like a uterus and ovaries).

Oh, quick update: the anesthesiologist just came out and said that he gave her a new epidural higher up.    This is supposed to control the higher pain.  The first epidural wasn't getting the most "rostral" end of the incision as far as pain control.  Rostral: toward the rostrum (nose, I think, not the platform that speakers talk from).  Caudal is the other end (a little diversion there).

Well, that's it for right now.  All in all, very relieved.  We are all spent emotionally.  Physically, that's a different story. We have been sitting on our caudal ends most of the day.

Here's to a smooth evening.



  1. so glad to hear that surgery went well! hope you can get some rest tonight . please let me know if you need anything. love and prayers to you. see you soon.

  2. What a long day for you all. Please continue with the updates. It's a relief to be beyond this surgery, and I hope the recovery goes smoothly.

  3. Steve, bless you for the update. I can't tell you how much that means! I've been praying all day, Gabrielle, knowing that Jesus was laying right beside you. Hang in there - let the healing begin! I'm there for you with much love! Soozi