The first stop was to wait for the radioactive dye to work so surgeons could locate the sentinel nodes. This required a local anesthesia, but Kevin said even with that, the dye really burned quite a bit. They injected this three times to be certain they located all nodes which could possibly be the first to contain cancer cells from the lesion. – A two-hour process
Surgery went very well. They ended up taking 3 sentinel nodes to biopsy, and placed pig skin on his scalp to promote healing before the skin graft. (Strangely enough we passed a truck of pigs on our way to the University of Iowa, which made us a bit grateful, sad, hungry and hopeful that this particular pig was super-clean.)
Kevin was up and around 4 hours after surgery, back to his regular, funny self.
He seemed to enjoy the walk around the hallway, so I made him pose here and we laughed as I took the picture. We enjoyed the art at the U of I around every corner.
Kristin came to visit. Kevin shared a room with another patient, so we couldn’t stay all night.
After listening to Kevin fuss about hospital food a bit, Kristin and I headed home and beat the winter storm. By morning, they said it was okay for him to go home. He still hasn’t slept!
Right now he’s in his easy chair, doing very well. He’s behaving and only watching TV and doing stuff on his laptop for the next few days.
The next steps are to see what the sentinel node biopsy results are, to watch his lungs (as the surgeon was still concerned about 3 tiny nodes there), and to have him back in surgery in a few days for the skin graft to his head. Then we speak to the oncologist and see what the next course of treatment is, based on the biopsy results.