Elaine is out of a very big extensive surgery and doing well. She's awake, lucid and, because of a wonderful epidural, not feeling a lot of pain.
There is some bad news that Elaine and I have already talked through. We agreed that this email, which is going to family and close friends, should be open and honest.
The doctors found cancer that was focused in the gynecologic organs but that had metastasized throughout the abdomen. They said that several of the organs were fused together in a mass, and so they did a radical hysterectomy and removed the appendix as well. They said that while they removed the large tumors, there were many smaller tumors that it was impossible to get to.
So after Elaine begins to heal, she is facing chemo-therapy and a larger treatment regimen. The GYN oncologist said that he'd formulate a plan this week. He did say, also, that about 70 percent of women who go through the current regimens respond well and go into remission, but that the cancer tends to recur within 1-3 years. So treating it has become like managing a chronic disease. This news was a shock to both of us, much worse than we were expecting, but not nearly as bad as it could have been.
The first order of business will be for Elaine to heal from this surgery. But we'll be focused next on doing whatever we can to speed her larger recovery.
She'll be moved into the Tower at Baptist downtown in a few minutes, but we wanted you to know the news, good and not so good, as quickly as possible.
We know that we're in your thoughts, and we are deeply grateful for your warmth, concern and love. If you'd like to send Elaine an email in the next few days, I'm pretty sure she'd be delighted to hear from you.
Love from both of us.
(Elaine and) Brian