This is Morgan signing on in Christa's place for an update.
It was determined that in order to fix the problem with fluid building up outside her lugs they needed to go in and do a "talc" procedure. Basically they go in with a scope and collapse her left lung. Once this is done they can look around. The chamber surrounding the lung that they would be looking at is called the pleura. The surgeon then sprays talc powder all around the walls of the pleura. Then, when the lung is inflated, the talk will agitate the lung and the pleura and cause them to fuse. This fusing will keep fluid from building up and improve her quality of life. There are no real cancer fighting benefits to the procedure however. Once the process is complete we will procedure on to the next chemo drug.
So, we checked into the hospital yesterday at 1pm for the pre-op stuff. Christa's parents, Randy and Sharon were both with us in the prep area. We waited around for a while for the surgeon to finish the open-heart surgery that was scheduled before Christa's operation. Finally at about 5:40pm they wheeled her away.
The actual procedure only took about 30 minutes. The surgeon came out and told us that it went well. She also told us that she notices a lot of tumor activity on the wall of the pleura. Apparently it looked like a rash, but was really the cause of the fluid and related to the cancer. She was also sending Christa to the ICU for the night while she came out of anesthesia. She said that she would be out of it all night which we liked since we have heard that this procedure can cause a lot of pain. They were also going to keep her on a special ventilator to make sure the lungs stayed inflated properly.
Christa's parents and I went up a little later to see her and tell her good night. We were told that there was no staying with her while she was in the ICU. It certainly seemed that way when we were there. Unfortunately I arrived this morning to find that she was not really all that "out of it" last night, and that in fact it was a miserable and pain-filled night. She says that she actually knew we were there when we came to say goodnight, but she just wasn't able to open her eyes and acknowledge us.She also unknowingly pulled out her special breathing tube around 9:30pm last night. I have to admit that I felt like a pretty big failure as a husband for having left her when she turned out to have had such a rotten night.
While today has been a little better she is still in a lot of pain and they are trying their best to manage it with medication. She has walked a bit and has moved from the bed to a chair and back a few times, but in order for her to get out of the ICU they will need to wean her off the pain meds some more. She also has a chest drain hooked up to drain the fluid while the talc takes effect. It is apparently the reason for most of the pain so we can't wait to get it out too. That will happen when the flow of fluid slows down.
It looks like for now we will be in the ICU until tomorrow and the hospital until at least Sunday. The kids are doing well and once again it has been family to the rescue. There have been tons of well wishers and other helping with meals and prayers, which we appreciate greatly. In spite of the pain and the pain medication haze Christa continues to be herself. She makes the occasional funny or sarcastic comment and smiles her cute sideways smile. She is a champion. Thank you again for all of the prayers and acts of kindness. The Johnson don't doubt for a minute that they are loved.