First of all, Jay and I need to say a huge thank you to everyone who has sent us words of encouragement and let us know that you are thinking about us during this not-so-easy time. It has meant so much to us to know that we have so much support and so many people praying for us.
Second, we need to give mad props to my parents for being troopers on our behalf today. This day went as smoothly as it could have possibly gone, and that would have never happened if my mom and dad (and stepdad) hadn't come through for us big. My dad served as primary chauffeur and waiting room sitter from 9:30 this morning until 4:00 this afternoon, picking up Jay, taking him to the clinic, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting. My mom and stepdad served as babysitters on steroids, entertaining our little tyrants all day long. The biggest miracle of the day was that Clare didn't completely freak out when she woke up from her afternoon nap to find that I wasn't home. Instead she played happily all afternoon with my mom. Whoa.
On to the procedure. Jay first had a CT scan this morning that, as far as we know, showed nothing. That's good.
The really good news, however, is that the surgeon was able to do exactly what he wanted to do. He was able to get a guidewire all the way through the common bile duct and expand the entire length of it to roughly 4 mm (that's the size of a normal common bile duct) using a balloon. He didn't use a stent because, as he explained, bacteria can colonize around the stent if bile gets backed up around it. This can cause an infection. So, no stent. The surgeon was really positive. He was obviously excited that the procedure had worked and took great pleasure in telling me all about it. I was happy to oblige. He said that he had seen great results with the procedure in the past and that in some cases had seen dramatic, long-term improvements (sometimes even for years) from it. The dose of reality he injected was that this procedure might not actually improve Jay's condition at all. If that's the case, we'll know that the jaundice was caused by general liver damage instead of a backup of bile due to the stricturing of the common bile duct. The surgeon said that, if we see results, it could take up to two weeks before we notice a change in color.
Then I talked to the doctor. It was the first time he'd actually seen the inside of Jay's liver, so he was pretty realistic about things. He reminded us of what he had said to Jay previously, which is that Jay's liver functioning is still quite good, but that the liver itself looks pretty torn up. And it does. The films I saw looked fairly similar to the films I saw upon diagnosis eight years ago. The doctor wants Jay to have bloodwork done in about six weeks, here in Jackson, and then wants to have a face-to-face with Jay after that to talk about what comes next.
So the summary is that the procedure was successful, but we will have to wait and see whether or not it has the desired effect. We'll know when we see if Jay's color changes and when we see results of the blood tests in a little over a month.
I was telling my friend Terri the other day that the most difficult thing about this for me is that it feels like a constant waiting game. My hope is that we learn something definitive (and definitively good) in the next few weeks and that we can get off of this pincushion that we seem to be sitting on.
Thank you again for all of your support. You can't know what it means for us to know that we have so many people rooting for us. Bless you.