Friday, June 8, 2012


Thursday night Dr. Clary came in Thursday night for his usual visit and to talk with us about the day. He then gave us the best surprise ever! "Well, instead of going home tomorrow...what do you think about going home tonight?" YES PLEASE! Austin had a great day and we knew we were ready to go home. "What was the point in spending one more night?", he said. Exactly. Oh I love that man even more! 

Overall, I was very impressed with our hospital stay. Austin had great nurses, great doctors and great all around care. It felt good being back at Duke, especially right next to my old ICU. It very much felt like home to me. 2200 will always be home! I feel very very blessed. Very blessed to have so many people looking out for Austin and making sure his every need was met.

Here is Aus after he got dressed waiting to peace out of 2329!     

Outta here! 

Finally back at home with his animals. No place like home. 

Molly girl is so glad he's home! 

So far so good since we've been home. I feel like Austin can really rest and heal now that we are home. We still have lots of family in and out and love visits from our friends. Aus is in great spirits and focusing on his recovery. His pain is really well controlled and I am most thankful tonight for that! Thank you GOD for taking such good care of us! 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday...Post-Op Day 5

Another big day for us. Today was  much better than yesterday. Thank goodness.  Aus had a very productive day and it seems his ileus is improving and his bowels are beginning to wake up. (FYI...this is all super common after surgery, especially a major surgery like Austin's.) 

Dr. Clary came in today and talked to us for a long time. He told everything was looking good and anticipated Aus could go home on Friday. He will eat regular food tomorrow (Thursday) and if all goes well with that then he should go home Friday. We are both SO ready to be home and in our bed...with our sweet puppy and kitty!!  

How good does he look today?

He walked today without any lines or tubes connected and used a regular walker! wahoo! He is getting stronger by the day. 

He is so dang cute!

I left the hospital for a bit today and had lunch with my family. How stylish is my Grandmother?? Love my Gammo! 

A little part of his room. Lots of sweetness on that wall! (This is my view every night as I type this blog. I have my recliner chair butted up to Aus' bed. We put the bed railing down and it's allllmost like we're sleeping together. I can cuddle on his arm. :) )

He is on a full liquid diet now and had some "real" food today, broccoli and cheese soup from Panera Bread and two kinds of ice cream! Hopefully tomorrow he will eat a regular diet. Here he is eating a snickers ice cream bar. :) 

Dr. Clary also came in with the results of the pathology today. We have been awaiting this news all week. He confirmed that Austin's tumor was in fact malignant liver cancer. Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma (FHCC) to be exact. This type of liver cancer is extremely rare...less than 200 cases reported each year. Can you imagine... to be 1 in 200 in this entire world? It's hard to wrap our heads around it. This type of cancer typically effects young people with normal healthy livers. Because this cancer is so rare there isn't a lot of research and data on how to treat it. BUT. BUT we got some really good news. The pathology report also revealed that the tumor had clean, negative margins. Meaning that there was no microscopic evidence of cancer left in Austin. The edges of the tumor had normal liver tissue around it, which would imply only normal liver tissue was left in Aus' body. This was the news we were hoping for and God answered our prayers yet again! Dr. Clary said we would meet with a medical oncologist to discuss the need for Chemo or not. To my understanding, it sounds like all the cancer is out of Austin's body but a round or two of Chemo might be done just to make sure all the cancerous cells were killed/removed. We will discuss this in about 2 weeks during an outpatient appointment. I'm obviously hoping he doesn't have to go through that, but if it's an extra preventative measure to make sure all the cells are killed then bring it on!

Austin is so brave and he is a fighter. He is going to fight this cancer and he is going to be a part of the 40% cure rate. I just feel so blessed that this cancer has not spread and that we are in the situation we are in right now. It could be so much worse. This cancer is OUT of his body. God is being so faithful to us. 

I just love him so much. I am so glad God chose me to be his wife. In sickness and in health. We will walk this long road together. I love you, Aus. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesday...Post-Op Day 4

Whew! The days are really flying by. It's crazy it is already Tuesday. They took out his foley catheter today and he has already peed since it was removed so that is great news. (He had an issue last time they tried to take it out and ended up having to put it back in so I am glad it looks like that won't be happening this time.) He is having kind of a crummy day. Just doesn't feel well, isn't as awake and talkative as he has been. When one of the doc's came by a little bit ago we were telling him about how his day was and that he felt kind of crummy. I also told him Aus' tummy seemed a little more distended to me today and he agreed so they ordered a KUB (X-ray of his abdomen) to look for any air or swelling of his stomach. 

They just came in to tell us Aus does have a small ileus, which is basically a bowel obstruction. They aren't too concerned, just reiterating the importance of him walking around trying to get his bowels to move. They will probably start him on more aggressive laxatives tomorrow. His stomach wasn't swollen, so no NG tube...whew! 

Aus this morning. Not really feeling it. :( 

Leila sent Aus these pretty flowers and balloons today. They are so bright and fun! We sat them up near his TV so he can look at them. :)

A few of Aus' favorite toys these days. Back scratcher, stress ball, and his incentive spirometer (helps him take deep breathes and expand his lungs). 

I was talking to one of the Doc's that I know personally, Sabino, for a long while today. (He was in surgery with Aus, working with Dr. Clary.) We talked about Aus' surgery some more and how well everything went. He confirmed again that to the naked eye they removed all of the tumor. There maybe a few microscopic cells that will need treatment but we won't know that answer until the pathology comes back. It felt good to hear that again, I sure hope that thing is out of here! 

We are having a slumber party in Aus' room tonight! I was needing some extra TLC from my mama so she is staying with us, too. We fit two of these big recliner chairs in his room and we are having fun! 

Hope we have another good day tomorrow. Can't believe tomorrow is already Wednesday...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday...Post-Op Day 3

Well, we had another good day today. Aus was up and walking around the halls again, eating more jello and drinking lots of juice. His favorites are red jello, cranberry juice and chicken broth. They told him this afternoon he could drink coffee so he is super pumped about that! They plan to advance his diet tomorrow and hopefully he will get some food with a little more substance. ;) 

Dr. Clary came in today for the first time since the operation and had a great report. He said he was very pleased with how things were progressing and that Austin may go home as soon as Thursday. wahoo! He said Austin's liver function was improving and right on track. (There is/was a chance that Aus' liver wouldn't function correctly since such a huge part was taken out...but it seems that isn't a issue so far so that is great news!) They were also toying around with giving Austin blood today since his levels dropped a bit but opted to hold out since Aus wasn't symptomatic with the low counts. They did give him a dose of lasix (a diuretic) to remove some of the extra fluid Aus had on board. He responded well and peed 3 liters! Whoa! 

Bobby brought Aus a few lotto tickets today...we were hoping we may scratch off a big winner to pay all the medical bills. We won $10...ha! 

Love looking at that sweet face! This is after they removed his central line (big IV in his neck) wahoo! 1 more thing out of his body! 

This was definitely the highlight of our day today! Well my day, haha...poor Aus can't eat any yet. Coconut chocolate covered oranges and strawberries and milk chocolate and white chocolate swirled covered bananas.YES PLEASE.

Today we had several visitors, our parents, of course, and a few friends. A few of Austin's friends from Danville are coming to visit tomorrow so he is looking forward to that.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday...Post-Op Day 2

We are really making progress!! Austin got out of bed again today and even walked around the nursing unit! He did really well. His blood counts are a bit low so when he gets up he feels pretty dizzy and weak. He made it a whole lap around the unit though. They started him on clear liquids today too and he has had jello, cranberry juice, beef broth and an orange popsicle! He says he really wants to eat more and feels hungry. This is a good sign! A lot of his labs are already back to normal (they were way out of wack pre-surgery because of this tumor) so that is very encouraging! 

We have had so much support from our family and friends this weekend. I am beyond thankful for them. Austin really enjoys all the visitors and company during the day. Even if he falls asleep mid sentence while talking to them. :) 

First bite of food...

Ready to roll! 

So happy. So blessed. So emotional tonight. So happy he is going to be healthy again. I have never felt peace like I do right now. We have obviously been through a lot but tonight it is all starting to make sense. When the nights are quiet, and it's just the two of us, I start to understand. This is God's plan for us, and I see what a wonderful plan it is. 

I love you my sweet angel!