Email update written by my sister:
Thank you all so much for your prayers, calls, texts and emails the last several weeks. I can't tell you how encouraging it is to know so many people are praying and lifting us up right now. Just wanted to send another update. It was quite the struggle to convince CTCA that we needed to leave Wednesday morning to make it to Birmingham in time to see Dr. Carroll at UAB. This was his only chance to see Dr. Carroll before his surgery scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug 20. Thankfully we were able to be discharged last Wednesday and Dr. Carroll's office worked us in to see him as soon as we got there. We've decided to go forward with the major cancer removal surgery (total laryngectomy, remove and reconstruct throat, remove and reconstruct nasopharynx -- a 6-8 hr operation). After we saw Dr. Carroll, my dad went home! Praise God! He can relax now in comfort!
My dad had a feeding tube put in last Tuesday afternoon and that went well. He would have needed that anyway to do the big surgery, so he just got it early. He's now up to 6 "feedings" a day and feeling much stronger after getting some nourishment after going so many days without eating while in the ICU. He's doing OK with the trach right now. It's difficult to speak with it, but he can still talk. It takes a full breath to say each word, so any conversation is tiring. Sleeping is hard right now. When I saw him last Wednesday he was very weak, struggling to stand, and very tired. I visited them yesterday and he was walking around well and had so much more energy so that was encouraging.
I think he's ready for the surgery and ready to get this hurdle behind him. I'm sure it's quite scary going into such a major operation. It would be different if it were your knee or your stomach or something else. After the surgery he will have a long road of recovery ahead. He will be in the hospital for at least a week. After that, he will need a lot of speech therapy to learn to use the prosthetic speech devices (there are 2 kinds - one that sounds mechanical that will be a "backup" and a new device that has a more natural voice sound) and also to learn how to "swallow" again with his newly reconstructed throat.
Here are some more ways that you all can pray for us:
1. Pray that surgery goes as planned tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug 20 at UAB (we don't know what time the surgery will be yet, but probably will start in the morning since it will take 6-8 hrs.
2. Pray for the doctors that they will have wisdom, clarity, and skill as they remove the tumors and reconstruct his throat.
3. Pray for my family (my mom, me, my sister, and my grandmother and other extended family) that will be there tomorrow and waiting for good results
4. Pray for the recovery, that it will be smooth, that healing will take place as planned and that rehabilitation will be easy
5. Pray for my dad's energy and perseverance through the rehab process.
6. Pray for complete removal of the cancer so that it NEVER comes back!
I can't express enough gratitude to everyone for praying, sending his name and story to your church's prayer lists, calling, visiting, texting, and emailing. It's so great to hear from friends and family that care during times like these. We serve an amazing Physician that can heal! He is in control and is BIGGER than cancer! We pray that He receives glory through all of this!
Love you all!