December 29, 2010

More on Mark's Kidney Tumor Removed Using the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System by Da Vinci

Mark was seen today for postop follow-up in Houston. His oncologist and surgeon both told him his tumor was cancerous and the cancer was called "clear cell" carcinoma.

You can read about the da vinci robotic arm system at See picture of same above. It is like three arms on a post. Each arm has a wrist with 8 degrees of function. The surgeon sits across the room from the patient with their arms inserted into a console. The focus is adjusted by foot pedals.
Addendum 1/12/2011 Four days before Mark's surgery Time Magazine Dec. 13,2010 had a seven page article on the Da Vinci surgical robot. We just read it today. The article says there are a thousand hospitals and clinics in this country and 400 others in the world that have this machine and that half of all prostate cancer operations are done using this robot.Dr. Mani Menon, born in India, was the first surgeon in this country to use a robot to remove a cancerous prostate gland. He was a protege of Dr. Patrick Walsh of Johns Hopkins and learned Dr. Walsh's technique for doing surgery for prostate cancer that left the patient still potent and continent. This technique had the surgeon doing the work using his hands and going by feel not sight. Using the robot, Dr. Menon and now others, can see the surgical site. In 2000 Dr. Menon opened the country's first center for robotic prostatectomy at Henry Ford. Currently the da Vinci robot is used for many types of surgeries in various parts of the body. The da vinci robot costs more than one million dollars and after each procedure parts worth around $1,500 have to be replaced.

December 23, 2010

Happy Holiday Wishes From Mark and Family and Follow up on Gout vs Infection
We are having our family gathering at our house on Christmas eve. We will cook a lot and our friend Suzie will help us cook. We will do a white elephant gift thing and play some games. Mark's sister will stay in Okinawa. We urged her earlier to take her Christmas vacation and head to Thailand for her health check-up which she did...and it was a good thing. When Mark gets better maybe we can go visit her.
Mark is not feeling peppy. He is taking it easy and will go to the VA hospital in Houston on Dec. 29. He will see his oncologist and the doctor who did his kidney surgery. Maybe there will be a report on the kidney tumor. Maybe we will will find out if it was malignant or not and if it is a primary tumor or metastasis.
To follow-up on Mark's earlier hospital stay for intense pain and swelling in his elbow: It was gout. Mark had another bout but managed it at home and it subsided just before going to Houston for his kidney surgery.

December 20, 2010

Mark is "a lucky man" According to the Surgeons
Mark was released from the hospital yesterday (Sunday) after the doctor told him how lucky he was. It turns out the docs were able to save 99% of his kidney. The doctor explained that the tumor was growing on top of the kidney like a tree with only the trunk dipping into the kidney so it seems they only had to core out the trunk. Mark had great doctors and great nurses and nurse aides. Everyone of the staff were super. The pictures above include Susan his favorite nurse (although he liked and appreciated all his good nurses) and the cutest Santa whose name I did not get. You can also see a picture of Mark's wounds...a few incisions where the robotic arms were inserted and his Jackson-Pratt drain.
On his fist and second post-op days, Mark was no longer doing dance steps and was not joking with the nurses as much. He was still in and out of bed and walking a lot but he was having pain and was tired.
Mark was worried about the trip home and all the jarring from the road which causes him pain, but he survived the ride home nicely and without complaint (except for my driving), reading a book all the way home..

December 17, 2010

Mark's Kidney Surgery and Follow-up About the Gout ... We started the 3 hour Houston drive on Thursday at 4 pm not knowing if the surgeon had clearance for Mark's surgery on Friday or not. We were 90 minutes on our way going on faith that the surgery would take place when the surgeon called to say that the surgery was cleared. Traffic was very heavy as we got into Houston but we arrived safely...and too tired to go out to eat so we ate at the hotel.

We were told to report to the VA Hospital at 0530, so we were up at 0415. Mark was in surgery at 0740 and stayed there for four and a half hours. It was a partial nephrectomy, robotic arm assisted. The doc finally came to tell me that surgery went well...they saved 90% of the kidney. The margins around the tumor which was cored out were clean.
After about 25 minutes I was able to go to recovery room and Mark was wide awake and joking with the nurses. He immediately asked me to get his Kindle book reader his sister Stephanie sent him. He was in his room in another 30 minutes, and luckily he got a private room. He retaped all his tubes himself, got up, stood at the bedside and did some dance steps, sent me to get iced tea and candy, joked with the nurses and walked all over the hospital. At one point the nurses thought he was walking the hall, but he'd gone downstairs into the fresh air. He may get to come home tomorrow (Sat) to continue his recovery. More info on the tumor that was removed, when Mark gets a report.
PS Mark's elbow pain and swelling was due to gout. He had a second bout of gout but not as bad as the one which put him in the hospital. See earlier post. The second bout subsided in time for the kidney surgery. Good timing.