Monday, September 7, 2009

Assisting Elsa's Surgery

The port is out. Pretty amazing to watch. The surgeon, Dr. Winter, asked me if I wanted to watch and I, of course, could not pass up the opportunity.

It took about 30 minutes for him to coax the port out of her. He began by giving her some numbing medication, which is pretty gruesome to watch as there is no ceremony in the way he sticks the needle with the Lidocaine. Then he covered up the area to isolate it and prevent infection. Elsa was under a sheet, most of her all covered up with just the area where the doctor was going to make the incision showing. Then the doctor took an X-acto knife, or at least one that looked like an X-acto knife and started cutting the skin. Once he had a big enough opening, he stuck a scissor inside and started to pull the skin aside, getting deeper and deeper into Elsa's body. Periodically, he used the knife to cut away scar tissue, until he could stick his finger inside. Then, he started to wiggle his finger inside the hole he opened up, trying to separate the scar tissue from the port. This took the longest time out of the entire operation. Every now and then he would ask for gauze or something like that, which I believe now allows me to say that I assisted in a surgery at MSKCC. Not many people have done that.

Eventually, after some more massaging and cutting, he was able to remove the port. There was quite a bit of scar tissue around the port, so he had to cut it off in order to be able to remove the port. I took a picture, which Elsa will post later. I am now an assistant surgeon, so I cannot be bothered to do things like that.

After the port came out, he sowed up the wound and that was it.

Elsa was, according to him phenomenal. I believe him. She was under the cover, not uttering a sound, although I know she must have been feeling uncomfortable.

As for me, I handled it well, although half way through the doctor's wiggling operation, trying to separate the scar tissue from the port, I became drenched in sweat.

I'm really at awe at what Elsa puts up with to fight this cancer. I really think liposarcoma does not know who it's messing with. There is no hope for it- Elsa will beat it.

I must say, it was also pretty amazing what the surgeon was able to do with what amounted to run of the mill kitchen utensils, properly disinfected- of course. Not that I'm suggesting anyone try a similar maneuver a home, mind you.

Cheers all!


Daria said...

Wow good on you for watching.

Maya said...

daddy is that all you did,give the doctor gazue and take 2 pctures
because you wrote a lot in the post. -maya

Isabel Ferreira Gould said...

I am so impressed with Elsa's resilience and with Ze's ability to watch and write. Great news! Love to you all. Beijinhos as meninas. Isabel

tapioca said...

um casal de herois!
BRAVO aos dois.
Parabéns pela fantástica descrição da cirurgia e pela coragem de ser o assistente (para a gaze...) e fotógrafo!
Rápidas melhoras e esperamos mais publicações, agora de casa.
Beijinyhos aos 4

CLARA'S BLOG said...

Hi Ze, please tell Elsa how brave I think she is! I am always so proud to talk about her to friends and to let them know what a brave and strong friend I have! Hope to see her soon! Clara