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Update On My Stepdad


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Hi everyone,

I drove up to NYC with Teri this morning and spent some time at Sloan-Kettering with my stepdad. He's now 3 days out from his liver surgery--he looks pretty scruffy, has tubes everywhere, including a central line--and a huge backward-L shaped incision that has at least 70 staples. Even so, he's in great spirits and was so happy to see us. He has at least a week more in the hospital--and then at least a month more to recover.

While we were there, they came to give him some phosphorus--he's low, which is sign that his liver is using lots of it to try to regenerate, which is a GREAT sign. However, he's not been able to eat or drink yet. He tried earlier in the day and felt awful, so the doctor told him to try again when he felt ready. Pat was able to get out bed near the end of our visit and we took one lap around the floor together--after which we gave him hugs and kisses goodbye so he could get some sleep.

It will be at least a week or more before we get the full pathology back on the liver (and they took his gallbladder while they were there). We wont know until then whether or not he will need the experimental chemo used for his type of melanoma.

Thank you for all the good thoughts you've sent to me and my family. Hugs to you all. Nina

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Hi Nina, Im glad to hear your stepdad is in high spirits and things seem to be going okay. Hope he continues to get better.

I was just wondering if Melanoma is a skin cancer and how it got to his liver, if it is a type of skin cancer.


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Melanoma can happen anywhere--and it's a mean, nasty cancer. Yes, it was what most folks think of as 'skin cancer'. Pat had his first melanoma occur inside his eye, on his retina (called "intraoccular melanoma"). He woke up one morning with partially obscurred vision. By the next day, he couldn't see out of that eye. Within two days of being diagnosed, they removed his eye. 10 years later, he had another occurence of melanoma in one of his lungs. This last one was much faster growing, much larger, and occured in his liver.

Once you have melanoma, you can never really say it's "gone". It can reappear anywhere inside the body or skin.

So, regardless of whether or not they got the entire tumor from taking half of Pat's liver, he must go for scans regularly to find any new growths quickly. It's highly likely he will have another melanoma appear--it's just a matter of where and when--and trying to find it before it gets out of control.


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nina -

so glad that you were able to go to visit, that the surgery went as well as it did on friday, and that the visit sounds like it was a good one. i'm sure pat was thrilled to see both of you and that it boosted his spirits (even if they were already good :) ).

that's great news about the phosphorus too. i'll keep my fingers crossed that he's soon eating comfortably as well and that the pathology report is as good as it can be.

B) melissa

jacquie -

to second nina's info re: melanoma (not that it needs seconding)...while melanoma originates in an area of "skin" (which can include the eye and some other areas not considered skin by most) it is insidious for spreading very fast. my father has had melanoma & even though it was caught very early he still has to get lung scans regularly.

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I got another note from Pat's wife this morning. It's been a tough weekend.

I have stayed overnight at the hospital for the past two nights and

have not been able to send even an e-mail, let alone call most of you.

That's why you haven't heard from me.

Pat is recovering from his surgery in the way Pat has always done. But

this time it's a lot harder. As the doctor predicted, for the first

few days after the surgery poor Pat was miserable. He had lots of pain

and other symptoms, and wasn't able to sleep at night. But he kept

plugging away, walking a lot, breathing into that thing with the blue

ball that goes up and down and doing whatever was suggested to move

things along. The progress has been good, but slow by Pat's standards.

So far we don't know when he will be able to leave the hospital. He

hasn't yet been able to start drinking anything, even clear liquids.

The good news is that the doctors and nurses are thrilled with his

progress. He is now and always has been an excellent patient. But

this time it's hard for him to maintain that great smile of his. A few

changes were made in his medications so hopefully tomorrow will be a

better day. A nurse we love said that usually a few days after the

surgery things should progress faster, so we're looking forward to

that. I'll be in touch.

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continued thoughts & good prayers being sent pat's way ( and to his wife, rest of the family, & those caring for him...)

<_< melissa

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Guest tearose

Pat is surrounded by people who know and love him. He sounds like a strong guy too. I continue to keep him in my prayers and meditations. I too hope his smile and appetite returns very soon!

Are you doing okay Nina?

I guess in times as such, we all want to hear "everything will be okay".

Why does life have to be so hard at times...?

Please take care of yourself too.

best wishes, tearose

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