After almost four months of this illness, the end may be in sight. Next Friday, July 14, I am scheduled to have surgery at Shands hospital in Gainesville (a few hours from our Florida home). We looked all over the country -- at the Mayo Clinic, Sloan-Kettering, and elsewhere -- and thanks to a doctor who was involved early on in my case, we were connected with a surgeon who has the most expertise in my likely diagnosis (adenomatosis) and the best ability to deal with a patient actively involved in her own care. When we met with him, he understood my situation more thoroughly than anyone else has and he knew exactly how to treat it, with a procedure he's done many times before called a resection. He'll remove the right lobe of my liver since it has the largest of the benign tumors and then another doctor will do radiofrequency ablations on some smaller benign tumors on the left lobe of my liver.
It's a long, complicated surgery, but one he's comfortable performing, and the alternative is a liver transplant, which several other doctors had recommended and I wanted to avoid.
I'm expected to be in the hospital for about a week, then recovering at home (probably with some nursing assistance in the beginning) for about three months.
As a reward for surviving this incredibly difficult period in our lives, sometime after the surgery, when I'm alert enough to appreciate it, my husband will be slipping a beautiful new emerald ring on my finger (see picture at left). It will replace the emerald engagement ring he gave me a little more than 10 years ago.
My husband has always been amazing to me and he has been a magical father from the time our son was born. But this experience has tested us all in ways we could never have imagined. It brought him new strengths, matured our son, and gave us all a renewed faith in and appreciation for our family. And that is truly something to celebrate.
We're hoping to celebrate a different sort of slipping for Gary and Colter when we can. Colter took sailing lessons this summer and Gary's always wanted a boat, so once we figure out a way to work out the logistics, we're going to try and get them a watercraft they can enjoy together, while I tag along.
But first things first.
After I'm admitted to the hospital (July 14), if you'd like you can send me an e-mail that will be delivered directly to my room. Just click on this link and fill out the form (my first name is Julie, last name is Moos, and I'll be at Shands at UF).
Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. While I'm offline, know that I'll be looking forward to the next time I can blog -- especially if I can write about something other than my health! Hmmm, maybe the premiere of the seventh season of the "Gilmore Girls"?
Until then, take good care and love your friends and family like there's no tomorrow.