Remember how I said fighting childhood cancer was like riding the biggest baddest roller coaster ever? Well…this past week we experienced that roller coaster ride to the Nth degree.
Our family had big plans over winter break. Kenzi’s Wisconsin Badgers were playing in the Rose Bowl, and she was able to secure four tickets for our family. So on Monday, December 30th our family flew out of O’Hare to head to sunny Los Angeles…which just so happens to be Megan’s favorite place to visit. We were all so excited for our trip, and since Kenzi is getting older, we treasure the times we can travel together as a family. Here are some pictures of the happy times we had on the first few days of our vacation.
On New Year’s Eve, we went to the Los Angeles Zoo Holiday Light show. It was so much fun!
We also found time to make a quick shopping trip to The Grove.
On the morning of New Year’s Day, we made drive to Megan’s favorite donut place in LA…DK Donuts in Santa Monica. As usual, it didn’t disappoint.
Then it was off to watch the Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl. Although they lost a heart breaker 28-27, we still had so much fun.
We were all exhausted after the Rose Bowl game, so we headed back to where we were staying to get some sleep. That night, Megan called us into her bedroom at 12:30 a.m. to let us know that she had some abdominal pain. This is nothing new for Megan as she has dealt with the same upper abdominal pain for the past three years. Usually it is fairly intense for about three hours and then she is okay. However, this time it didn’t go away. Finally, at about 9:00 a.m. she was in so much pain that we took her to the emergency room at Cedar-Sinai Hospital in LA. By the time she was in the emergency room for a couple hours, she was in agony and not even morphine helped with the pain.
She finally got up to a regular room and they ran a CT scan which came back normal. She went under anesthesia the next day for an endoscopy, which also came back normal. Then they completed an ultrasound which showed the stones in her gallbladder. They finally decided to take her gallbladder out, but in the meantime, the pain only intensified. Further blood tests showed that she most likely had stones that had moved from her gallbladder to her bile duct, which would necessitate a second surgery. After consulting with the surgical team, they decided to do the bile duct surgery first followed by the gallbladder removal surgery, which both finally happened today. In between her initial admittance to the emergency room and her surgery today, she went through nearly four days of the most intense pain I have ever seen. It seemed like no amount of pain medication took the edge off. There were so many times that she would cry out because she was in so much pain, which for Megan means she was really hurting, because over the past five years she has developed quite the high tolerance for pain. In her own words, she has never experienced pain like that before, and as a parent, it was so hard to watch her struggling…especially considering everything else she has been through for the past five years.
Finally, she completed both surgeries today and mercifully she is out of that severe pain. Now she just has to recover from the surgical procedures. On the bright side, both doctors said they saw no signs of cancer in her abdominal area, which is something Megan was really worried about.
Here she is finally taking her first bite of food in three days.
It was a very rough last few days, and today was extremely taxing, but hopefully there is now a light at the end of the tunnel. We were supposed to fly home on Friday, but obviously that didn’t happen. Megan is so anxious to get home, so hopefully we are able to get her home by Wednesday. All things considered, it could have been worse.
Sometimes that roller coaster ride is completely overwhelming. The good news is, we always seem to be able to follow Megan’s lead and make it off the ride in good enough shape to buckle up again and see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully Megan can get to the comforts of home and back to her Boo Boo Kitty soon. Here is one last look at the highs and lows of this journey. Until next week…