And now back to living…

As you may know, we didn’t get the news we were expecting from the surgery.  The easiest way for me to explain is to walk you through our day on Wednesday.

Francis was rolled back for surgery at 8:00.  We knew there would be prep for the actual procedure by a urology team and some additional IV lines placed by the anesthesia team that would happen after Francis was under but before the big cut.

I was told to expect an update from the nurse every two hours on the even hours of the day.

At 10:00 a.m., I got the first update from the nurse.  She told me that the incision happened at 9:05, and that Francis was stable and his vital signs all looked great.  I asked if they had decided to move forward with the procedure as planned, and she repeated just what she told me.  So much for information.

I sat in the surgery waiting room working a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.  Having 12-18 hours of waiting to burn, I figured I could make a significant dent in the puzzle during those hours.  Francis’s dad and stepmom waited there with me, and planned to attend updates with me.

At a little after 11:00, the volunteer manning the waiting area approached me to let me know that the surgeon was here and would like to speak to me.  I immediately felt like throwing up, and walked to the consultation room.

Dr. Keith Fournier was there in his white coat with his briefcase, I think my brain began to process that this was unusual before I truly realized what was happening.  He told me that his part of the surgery was complete.

As I understand it, and we’ve since had it clarified, the surgeon was unable to do much of anything other than place a G-tube to replace the function of the NG tube for Francis.

He described that the cancer that was present when viewing the inside of Francis’s abdomen during the laproscopic procedure in December had grown and spread.  Additionally, he informed us that the tumor was covering the mesentery, colon and lower third of Francis’s pelvis and the organs in that area.

Dr. Fournier explained that to remove all the organs and tissue associated with the tumor would have so severely impacted Francis’s quality of life that it wouldn’t have been worthwhile.

What we believed was an intestinal obstruction wasn’t exactly as it seemed either.  Francis and I had wondered all long where the apparent blockage was located.  When the original surgery happened at Mayo Clinic, we believed that the obstruction was addressed and wouldn’t be a problem again.

In a way, we were correct about the repaired obstruction.  The mesentery holds blood vessels, lymph vessels, and nerves.  The infiltration of the tumor through the mesentery was the cause of the “obstruction.”  In fact, no part of the bowel was truly obstructed.

Dr. Fournier pointed out that upon watching the bowel during surgery you can actually observe intestinal peristalsis.  In Francis’s case, too much of his intestines were affected by the tumor disruption through the mesentery.  As a result, much of Francis’s intestines weren’t operating at all.

Ultimately, this is a devastating prognosis.  Francis will be unable to consume food by mouth.  He’ll be limited to a small amount of oral fluid consumption.  He likely will be unable to pass stool or gas.

At this point, we understand that Francis will continue with the TPN (total parenteral nutrition) through a PICC line in this left bicep.  Because Francis has limited intestinal function, chemo isn’t an option either.

So now, where does that leave us?  Good question.  These are some of the things we’re still trying to work out.  What we do know is that to do nothing only gives us months of time together.

You have been so generous with your words of kindness, prayers, cards, texts, emails, and support.  We will continue to request your prayers for us, Couper, Riley, and our families.  I wish I were able to respond to each of you individually, but I’m sure you will understand that it may take me some time to do so.  Either way, we remain grateful and completely humbled by such a tremendous outpouring of love.

We face some difficult conversations and painful decisions in the days and weeks ahead.  As we begin to wrap our heads around what we must do and more immediately how we get Francis out of the hospital and back home, I will do my best to keep everyone up to speed through the blog.  I appreciate your continued patience as we ease back into life with this new reality before us.

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24 responses

  1. We pray as a family for your family every night when our cell phone alarm goes off at 9pm. Your mother started the cell phone alarm for Garry, but we believe your family needed to be included. Love you.

  2. Dolores Strickland | Reply

    I liked your title, “And now back to living”, it expresses your hope. I will continue to pray.
    Dolores Strickland

  3. Praying passionately for your family. Do not worry about responding to all of us. Your blog update is more than sufficient. I believe it helps you to write it, as you and Francis take each day, each hour at a time to organize your thoughts and actions. May God’s Presence be felt. May your family take comfort in knowing that God and His people are standing with you.

  4. LeAnne prayers are with you always.  Hope you can get Francis back home soon.  Love Gary and Ellen

  5. Continuing to hold you up in our thoughts and prayers. God is holding you in the palm of His hands. Sending our love!

  6. We are praying for you

  7. Holding you up in our prayers!

  8. I am praying and sending positive thoughts to you guys always!

  9. Sending so much love and compassion from around the corner in Markle.

    God give Francis and LeAnne comfort and wisdom, Couper and Riley unfailing love, and their families Your hands and feet. I humbly ask for this and all that You can provide that we cannot even dream of in Jesus name. Amen.

  10. Elizabeth Burrows | Reply

    We continue to pray for your family every night. As I’ve read your blog, your strength and courage amazes me. I hope that you and Francis can return home very soon. We all love you so much. If there is anything at all we can do for you, please let me know.

  11. We are praying for you and sending positive thoughts your way. I cannot imagine what you are going through so I will not pretend to. Just know that we are thinking about you and your precious family.

  12. LeAnne and Francis, Thank you for the updates and we all continue to pray for your miracle healing and God’s infinite love and wisdom with each day. I am so glad you both are so strong in your faith walk. Home is where you belong soon as possible. Love,
    Phyllis Hayes

  13. Annette /lee Godwin | Reply

    We LOVEYOU FRANCIS…..GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY……KEEP YOUR SPIRITS UP, MY CHILD ALSO !!!!!!!!! We are praying along with so many people !!!!! We must enjoy EVERY MOMENT WE HAVE ON THIS EARTH…….AND NEVER EVER DOUBT WHAT GOD IS ABLE TO DO. WE ARE NOW GOING TO HAVE A VERY LONG PRAYER SESSION SO WE WILL BE ON OUR KNEES FOR QUITE SOME TIME NOW.
    PEACE AND LOVE AND PRAYERS .
    LOVE,
    ANNETTE AND LEE
    SMILE FOR US !!!!

  14. This is such shocking news. I can’t imagine the grief that you all feel. There are no words I can say to comfort you all. May God give you all the strength you need at this time to help comfort Francis and bring him home.

  15. I am so sorry and am keeping you in my prayers that God will ease your pain. Love, cousin Nancy

  16. I cannot imagine what your family is going through, but know that we are continually praying for you, Francis and your family. You are much loved and our hearts ache for you.

  17. Marissa & Chris Kiefer | Reply

    We continue to lift you up with prayers. You are a constant in our thoughts & heart. May God give you strength.

  18. Aunt Bev
    Leanne, I am praying for you and your loved family.

  19. LeAnne, Sarah O forwarded me the link to your blog. Your strength and courage are an inspiration. I can’t imagine how hard each step is for you and your family at the moment but please know you me your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  20. LeAnne and Francis. I am crushed by this latest turn of events. We worked together for a short time together at DOT and had an immediate connection. I will continue to hold you up in my thoughts and prayers that you will be strengthened and delivered in these circumstances. Billy Hattaway

  21. Annette /lee Godwin | Reply

    Francis……today is PHIL’s BIRTHDAY !!!!!!! HE IS WITH YOU 100 percent !!!!!!!! Tune in with his spirit, o.k. He will NEVER LET YOU DOWN!!!!!!!!!
    GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AND SMILE FOR US !!!!!!!
    NEVER DOUBT GOD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    WE ALL LOVE YOU AND AM GOING TO SEND MANY PRAYERS YOUR WAY.
    SO MANY PRAYERS FROM SOOOO MANY FRIENDS.
    GOD BLESS !!!!
    THE GODWINS

    1. Annette /lee Godwin | Reply

      David sends his Love, also !!

  22. Travis lead the Indiana State Senate in prayer today & had us all pray for Francis. Travis is a great friend of mine, and this wasn’t the first time you have had my prayers. Rest assured that it won’t be the last! God bless you, and I know your husband is lucky to have you and appreciates all you do.

  23. Susie and Brian Coughlin | Reply

    Brian and I are thinking of Francis and your family. Xo

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