Friday, February 13, 2009

Surgery Update

Bradley and I arrived at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center at 6:30 yesterday morning (February 12) in preparation of his surgery. He had lab work done and received fluids until about 10 am. We then went down to the pre-op area where Bradley received an epidural catheter. This was inserted to control Bradley’s abdominal pain better than just IV pain medicines. The epidural catheter will remain in for 3-5 days and will come out when Bradley is able to eat and drink and take oral pain medicine. Bradley’s mom, dad, his sister Lori and her husband Steve, and myself all were allowed to stay with him until he was wheeled back to the operating room. Bradley was not the least bit nervous. He was very talkative and was laughing and joking around with everyone right up until the surgery. The nurses even commented that he was very social with them while being anesthetized. Bradley went to the operating room at about 11:20 am.

The surgery began at 12:30 and lasted until right about 7pm. Bradley’s incision starts at his breast bone and extends to his pelvic bone. He did very well throughout the entire surgery and did not lose a lot of blood. Dr. LaQuaglia met with me after surgery and told me that everything looked good and that he was able to remove all “visible tumors”. I was so excited to hear this news, and I was also very happy to learn that several places we initially thought contained tumors did not. We are definite believers in the power of prayer.

We were able to see Bradley at about 8:30pm in the recovery/ICU unit. He spent the night there because of the late hour and also because he remained intubated. The uncomfortable tube was kept down his throat because of the length of the incision and the duration of the surgery. Prior to surgery Bradley and I had worked out all sorts of hand codes to use to communicate since he would not be able to talk. Much to my surprise Bradley did a better job at remembering them than I did. He wanted to know all about the procedure and outcome. He was quite alert and was able to nod and answer questions. The nurse said the tube would be removed from his throat when he became even more alert.

Bradley’s dad and I spent the night in a hospital waiting room. At midnight I received a call from his nurse and I immediately became concerned. Thankfully, she told me they had removed the tube from Bradley’s throat, that he was talking, and that he wanted to talk to me. Bradley got on the phone and said his nurse would let me go and visit him for ten minutes. I was thrilled that Bradley was doing so well and that I was able to sneak a visit in to see him.

This morning at 10 am Bradley was moved from ICU to his own room. He is on the pediatric floor as everything about his care is pediatric as this is a pediatric cancer. At MD Anderson he was not treated by pediatric specialists. Of the two I much prefer the pediatric side of it. Before Bradley's surgery Bradley's dad told Dr. LaQuaglia to "take good care of his son." To this Dr. LaQuaglia replied, "In the operating room he is my son." I was extremely impressed by Dr. LaQuaglia. He could not be any nicer. All of the staff here are very kind and caring. They have all sorts of juices, snacks, and extra little perks that also help.

We have been told Bradley is doing great. The nurse practitioner asked him if he had a high pain tolerance and he said, "No, I just don't complain." Boy is that the truth. He is already using his breathing machine and in an hour it is time for him to get up and walk. I dread this so much for him, but he is strong in many ways. He is a real trooper.

Bradley is well on the road to recovery. He is doing great, the surgery was a huge success, what more could we ask for? We certainly give thanks to the Lord for hearing and answering our prayers and for His guidance every step of the way on the journey to recovery. We so appreciate everyone’s prayers and support, and we thank you all. I am sure Bradley will come back later and post various specifics about our New York adventure and his recovery, as for now I hope my post gets Bradley’s approval.


  1. Thats wonderful news Marissa. God is awesome!! We will continue to pray that he heals quickly and gets back home soon. We loved your post, it has been our personal favorite!! we are sure Bradley will love it!!!! Just keep'em coming, we check often! love you guys and hope to see you both soon!

  2. Awesome! We've been praying and look forward to hearing more and seeing you guys when you get back to ATL.

  3. Steve and Jennifer PetersonFebruary 13, 2009 at 10:58 AM

    Bradley and Marissa,
    Sounds like the surgery went very well! We are so happy! What a great V-Day present! May God continue to bless your recovery. We will continue praying for you and will keep clicking on those web advertisements!
    Steve and Jennifer Peterson

  4. What a mighty God we serve! We rejoice and give thanks to the Lord for this wonderful news. God is faithful to hear and to answer our prayers, and we thank Him with grateful hearts. Just know that we continue to uphold all of you in our thoughts and prayers. We continue to pray that Bradley's recovery will be quick and complete. God bless you.

    Love & prayers,
    David & Beverly

  5. Bradley and Marissa,
    We are so thrilled that everything is going so well. We think of you constantly and eagerly await your return! Sounds like this physician is a class act and that he is taking the best possible care of Bradley. Way to go Marissa for all your research! Bradley is so brave and a real inspiration. Praying that all continues to go smoothly. Do you have an address in NYC?
    Meaghan and Jack

  6. Howard and Terry SmithFebruary 15, 2009 at 12:21 PM

    Marissa, how wonderful to hear good news of Bradley's surgery. We have been praying and thinking of you, and will continue to do so. God bless you both.
    With much love,
    Terry and Howard Smith