Should I go to mom’s surgery?

Discussion Board Forums General Discussion Should I go to mom’s surgery?

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    It’s a tough recovery. But not impossible. She will def need lots of help after. No lifting, no cleaning, no driving… For 4 weeks for lifting. I think I was allowed to drive after 2 weeks. It all becomes hazy after 3 years.
    While the risks of most of these surgeries isn’t overly high, I would make sure I knew what needs to be known. Where stuff is, will, power of attorney, etc. my parents knew I am a DNR. Give me drugs but do NOT put me on machines!! I’m single and have no kids, so that part is a no-brainer. And they know my wishes for cremation and what to do with ashes. I know it’s morbid, but it will be out if the way.


    Thank you for the new replies. I have a lot of insight into what to expect. I’m getting myself physically and emotionally prepared, as much as I can anyway.

    I think I might go to mom’s house earlier. God forbid, if she doesn’t make it through the surgery, I’d never forgive myself. I also want to see her fairly healthy before the surgery, because it sounds like she’ll never be the same afterwards.

    Blessings and prayers to you all,



    When I had my surgery (not resection) my parents came up to be with me. They are 77 & 82, so it was hard on them. But they couldn’t not be here.
    And I would plan on 5-7 days in the hospital.
    I, too, bought an iPad, but mine is an iPad 2. It’s been great for lugging back and forth to doctors all the time. I had a laptop in the hospital, and wish I hadn’t had that extra 2 lbs in my bags when I was discharged!
    If I was you, I would be going to the hospital, too. I would be a wreck if I wasn’t there.
    Good luck to your mom. I hope she gets the cleanest of margins and an easy recovery.


    I am glad I was able to help you in some way. I see you also got some other really great replies and I agree with them also. Only you can know what is right for you, but it helps to get the perspective of others.

    You asked about my surgery: My surgery was about 2 hours pre-op (most of that time I was asleep), 4 hours actual surgery and then 3 more hours in post-op recovery to watch for post surgical complications such as bile duct leakage, bleeding, and whatever else. My surgery was in the outer part of the left node. They removed two of the segments to remove the 5+cm tumor along with a small, quarter inch sized one. The surgery went very smoothly and surprised even the surgeon, who expected to see some complications due to my weight, diabetes and asthma (also had just barely recovered from pneumonia). Today is 6 weeks post op and except for an issue with dissolvable stitches dissolving before two of the incisions had completely closed, I’m doing fine. It will be another week and a half before those two incisions close (I had laparoscopic surgery…not open abdominal, so I have 5 port holes and one bigger incision….the latter having to do with my abdominal size). At that time, I will get a port installed and start chemo to hopefully kill off any stray, microscopic cancer cells that may or may not be there. I was pretty sore due to the 3 hour ride home from Mayo to our house after being dismissed on the 3rd day post op but at the end of the first week, there was a big change and some of the diaphragm pain went away. The only real issue has been continual pain in these two incisions, esp the one lap port. They seem to be filling in now, from the bottom up (only about a quarter of an inch deep, so it almost healed without having any trouble). I just had my post surgery followup at Mayo last Tuesday and the CT scan showed no new tumors, thank goodness. Blood tests were normal but always were except right after surgery. I had no raised liver enzymes through all of this. The surgeon got a 2.2 cm negative margin, took 6 lymph nodes which were all negative and did not see any visible spread of the cancer when she check the pelvic area before starting cutting into the liver. So, I am left with the one adverse risk factor, being her finding the 2nd tumor, even though small. I have been told by the oncologist that the small tumor does not necessarily mean the bigger one has seeded. The surgeon referred to the smaller tumor as a “sister” tumor. In other words, in her mind, the small tumor grew for probably the same reason as the first one did, not as a process of seeding. Either way, it makes me kind of crazy, as we went to Mayo only knowing about the big tumor…..turns out the CT scan done at home was very fuzzy (badly done) and as such,couldn’t be seen. Yikes! The new CT scan done Tuesday at Mayo was clear and crisp….so I don’t think we have to worry about something being missed. The only thing would be a microscopic cancel cell waiting to grow big enough to be seen on the next scan or a liver cell that is damaged in some way by whatever caused the first two tumors to suddenly change to cancer and grow big enough to be seen. So, of course, I’m thinking I want CT scans every 90 days…not three months, so that if something shows up, it can be dealt with at its smallest size. My surgeon said that if a tumor would appear again in a couple years, she’d consider operating again, assuming it was in an operable place in the liver. (she only operates on livers and pancreases) However, if another tumor appears in say 6 months or so….then no, she would not, because it would indicate an aggressive cancer. I know that there are surgeons whoi are changing their minds on that though…..and are going ahead with surgery in instances that they did not previously, but I’ll deal with that situation if it arises.

    You also asked about the i-Pad we bought. It is an i-pad air….and I’m using it right now. We did buy a case with a built in keyboard, because I’m a touch typist and could not have stood using the on-screen iPad keyboard. It adds a little to the weight, but is worth it. It’s still so lightweight compared to a laptop. There is some kind of new keyboard that is either silicon or some such type material. But, I think you have to purchase it from the web. We didn’t have time for that….as we bought the ipad about 2 days before leaving for Mayo.

    Hope all that helps you. Good luck and hugs to your mom.

    Julie T.


    Hi…when mom had surgery we were all there (4 kids) . Surgery was not successful in that they closed her back up rather than removing the tumor. Somehow hearing news via phone rather than being there wouldn’t have worked for me. Also we were warned a 10 percent risk of not making it through. We all wished her luck going in and were there for each other. But if one of the siblings couldn’t have been there, we would not have thought they loved mom any less. And mom would not gave wanted us to miss anything important to be there. We are fortunate that all live close by. It was the worst day of my life but I had my family. I guess one of the positives of this is that a close family has been brought even closer. No doubt that Mom knows how much we love her. I hope your Mom’s surgery goes smoothly.



    You’re SO right. I will not be able to concentrate on school at all. I’ll be a nervous wreck if I wasn’t there knowing what’s going on. It’s going to be an emotional day, and I doubt my sister and father will be able to call me all the time.

    Thank you,



    Thanks Julie. I’m sorry about the loss of your father. That was a very powerful story. It made me think…ALOT.

    It sounds like you’re doing well. I hope you are. I have decided to go be with my mom during the surgery. I wouldn’t be able to concentrate in class at all. Id’ go crazy not being there, not knowing what’s going on. The surgery is at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, about 4 hrs away from me. My brother will not be there, but my sister and father will. Her doctor said the surgery will be a long time. How long was your surgery? God forbid if anything happened during the surgery, I was live forever with regret. I’m afraid of how her body is going to tolerate the surgery. She’s rather frail since she had breast cancer in 2010.

    There’s one small lesion and another suspicious one they’re going to check out when they have her open. They’re going to try to get negative margins, but the tumor is by some major blood vessels, so they might not be able to.

    What kind of iPad did you get? That’s a really good idea to bring an iPad to the hospital. She’s going to be there for at least four days. They have a hotel inside the hospital, The Med Inn with 24 hr coffee service! I’ll be visiting the chapel while I’m there.

    They’ll be plenty of time for me to study at the hospital too. I’m thankful my professor is flexible.

    Thanks again,


    Hi, Lola.
    Just my opinion, of course, but I think if you stay home for classes, you won’t be able to concentrate anyway–you’ll be worrying and wondering what’s going on. Personally, I would feel better being there in person. Make the decision that feels right in your heart.
    Prayers for you and your Mom.


    Lola, All I can say is that if you want to go,….do it as it is as much for you to be there as it is them. And, if you “crack mentally,” it’s okay. It really sound like you do want to be there with them, but are afraid you will break down and make things worse. When my dad was airflighted to Mayo years ago, my brother did not make it up to the hospital before dad passed away (very sudden, aggressive cancer/large cell lymphoma). In retrospect, he wishes he had made the trip instead of waiting until dad passed.

    When I had surgery on Feb 28th, we drove through a ground blizzard for 80 miles and only pea soup fog type visibility. Weather conditions continued to be horrible….19 degrees below zero making it dangerous to be on the road, in case you got stranded. So, for that reason, my husband and I both agreed that our only child/son, should not attempt the drive, no matter how much we wanted him to come or he wanted to be there with us. It was the right decision, but I half expected that my sweetheart son might ignore what we said and come anyway. However, I had told him that I needed to know he was safe..I didn’t want to worry about that too…..and that meant more to me to know he wasn’t risking his life on the road.

    Before we left for Mayo, we quickly bought an i-Pad device so that we didn’t have to lug around a big laptop and as such, we had access to skype or facetime. While it isn’t the same as being there in person, I can’t begin to tell you how much it helped both my son and family and us to be able to SEE and talk to each other. Even my little grandson gave grammy on the iPad screen a kiss and told me he loved me. If you decide not to go after all andyou have an i-pad or laptop …and they do too, I would highly suggest setting up skype so that you can “be there” as much as technology will allow. It’s really pretty cool….because the iPad actually rings some tone and the Facetime session shows up. What did we do without technology?

    The Skype and Facetime continue to be a great deal since I’m really trying to avoid catching anything new during surgical recovery….and in the future during chemo. Recently, our grandson caught strep… we have been doing Facetime again with the kids. Now our son probably has it also….so more Facetime instead of close contact. I need my family around and at least this allows us to stay in touch. We’re a small, but very close family. The Facetime and Skype allowed us to see each other and the kids could see changes every day in my recovery. And, it continues to put us all at rest to be able to see each other during the week

    From a patient’s perspective, I was so glad my husband was there with me. I kept telling him over and over that I couldn’t imagine how hard it would have been without him there by my side. This isn’t just a walk in the park type of surgery. It’s frightening for the patient and everyone else. If you need to go, then go for yourself…and If you need to cry…then cry. If you think you’re getting out of hand, just excuse yourself to the bathroom, get a drink (I’m not advocating alcohol here…just a drink of anything liquid…as it tends to stop crying), take a short walk away from the scene and try to calm down before you step back into the room.

    I hope that the experiences of my family might be of some help to you in making your decision. Whichever you decide to do… it with no regrets. Oh…and just one more point, if your mom is like most moms….she won’t want you to miss classes to be there. While that is admirable on her part, it isn’t a safety issue for you and if you feel you can afford to be away from the classes, then don’t let that stop you.



    My mom is 70, her liver resection is April 17th. My sister and father will be there. I live 4 hrs away. Should I go to the surgery? I’ve started having panic attacks two weeks ago and I’m school (I’m 43 but I’m taking Anatomy & Physiology for nursing). I’ll only miss class two days. I want to be there for her, but I’m afraid I’ll crack mentally.


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