The following is one of those updates, the most recent, from Uncle Nate on Sally's journey.
On January 7, Sally endured a second all-day surgery to reconstruct the side of her chest and six ribs that were removed during the tumor resection surgery on January 2. The plastic surgeons performed a "free tissue transfer," whereby they removed the left Litissimus Dorsi muscle ("lats" to weight lifters - the most massive muscle in your upper body) and transplanted it as a protective flap over the deformation in her side. The procedure involved tedious micro-vascular surgery to remove and reconnect an artery and vein necessary to supply the muscle with blood. This flab will provide protection, blood, and oxygen to Sally's wounded area. Although the transplanted tissue is a muscle, it does not have a nervous connection and will never again function as a muscle.
The second reconstruction surgery was scheduled tightly after the tumor resection surgery to give her a few days of recovery from surgery #1 but not too much time, as the risk of infection of a temporary closure grows with each passing day.
Over the past week, Sally's pain is managed well, but she has exhausted by trauma to her body as well as the constant waking (hourly during the first 72 hours). However, she has continued to gain strength each day. Given the scope of what she has been through, her doctors are amazed at the speed of her recovery.
Sally is being released from the hospital this afternoon, and she will continue her care at home with a visiting nurse. She will have chest drains in place and remain on opioids for pain control, but we know from experience that home is the best place for her to recover. We also know that the effects of surgery of this scope are never really known for weeks or even months later, so we will vigilantly watch and care for her. The urgency of the tumor resection surgery has pasted. However, it is clear that additional cancer treatment is still needed, so we will continue our mission to help Sally overcome her disease in every humanly possible way.
The power of love is as potent as any doctor's medical treatment. We are very thankful to every person that has sent prayers, thoughts, and healing wishes Sally's way.