Blogging about life and living it to the fullest. Pretend princess/mermaid. Actual basic southern millennial trophy wife.
Childhood Cancer

Tumor Resection Surgery and Bid Day

DISCLAIMER: I haven’t gotten a chance to sit and write a complete blog post until just now, but I have been writing stuff down when I’ve had the time. The following was written on Monday…

…My kid is a badass. Actually, both of my kids are. But right now, I’m going to talk to y’all about the one that just had majorly aggressive abdominal surgery. On Friday. Y’all. It’s Monday right now.

Just a little backstory to help put this in perspective for you. Reese is a twenty-three-month-old little boy that weighs twenty-three pounds, and he has a four-inch incision across his little abdomen from where Dr. Camps opened him up and resected a neuroblastoma tumor and some affected lymph nodes and surrounding tissue. Very invasive surgery.

Like I said, it’s Monday right now. And I am sitting here writing this while Matt is chasing little mister up and down the hospital hallways. I literally just saw Reese climb up on a chair– like he used his abs and upper body to pull his entire body mass up onto a chair that was as tall as he is. I don’t know if that impresses you or not, but it should because it’s basically equivalent to the moves they pull off on American Ninja Warrior. And those people are otherwise healthy athletes that train for months. This kid just had MAJOR. SURGERY.

…And now back to me writing about the other day from the present day (try saying that five times fast).

The last update I posted was about how well Reese was responding to treatment. I had to gather my bearings for a minute because this week has been just as chaotic as last week was, so all of my days are running together. Matt’s on his second week of ICU rotation, which means he is just gone. That’s why I haven’t had the energy to write.

Last week, because of how awesome Reese’s scans turned out, our medical team decided it was best to go ahead and move the surgery up a few days. If and when this surgery was even going to happen depended on how well Reese’s tumor responded to the chemo (some kids don’t even respond or have adverse reactions), and that’s why we were so excited to see those scans looking a good bit clearer last week. So Dr. Camps bumped the surgery up to Friday, September 1st. This tumor resection was a huge milestone for us.

We got admitted Thursday, so they could begin bowel prep for surgery– kind of like when you get a colonoscopy. They needed his intestines to be empty just in case something got accidentally cut during surgery. So we just hung out and played most of the day. But Reese had to get his first NG tube– let’s just say it was traumatic for everyone involved. But he bounced back like a champ, per usual.


When Reese was first diagnosed, the tumor extended through his diaphragm and up around his aorta, and since it was wrapped around major organs, it was pretty daunting– if it was even considered operable, it was going to be very difficult to approach. But the chemo did its job, and the thing shrunk so much that Dr. Camps was confident in his approach. He was able to remove the majority of the original tumor and any other nasty tissue that he saw. Basically, he got as much out as possible without causing additional damage to any major organs. This was amazing news!

Reese was kept in the PICU Friday night for close observation and pain management– he had an epidural in place, so he was very comfortable, and he pretty much slept the entire rest of the day and night.

Saturday morning, he seemed to be more aware of his surroundings, and he wanted to get out of that room. We were lucky, and we did get to go back to our usual room on the CBD (cancer/blood disorders) floor since he was recovering so nicely. He still wasn’t allowed to eat anything, which was difficult because once you bring out any sort of food or drink in front of this kid, he asks if he can have some. So momma and daddy had to be sneaky about eating and drinking. We pretty much spent that day watching college football, and Reese got totally into it (that’s my boy!). So much so that the next day he was noticeably disappointed that there weren’t any good games on. Saturday was pretty much a day full of snuggles.

Sunday, he started asking to walk, so we ventured to the playroom a couple of times after the nurse removed his catheter and epidural. He was finally allowed to eat and drink, so that was welcome news. This was the turning point for him, I think. Once he was able to eat and drink, be unhooked from most of the tubes, and have oral medicine, he took off and never looked back. We all slept pretty well that night.

Monday, Dr. C surprised us with the news that we were allowed to go home. GLORY GLORY. HALLELUJAH HALLELUJAH HALLELUJAH. AMEN. Reese was making such strides in his recovery that there was really no point in keeping him in the hospital any longer. SCORE. And he’s been running around like the cray cray toddler that he is ever since.

We got home just in time to celebrate my youngest sister’s birthday and sorority bid day. She’s a new little Alpha Gam, and we’re so excited for her. I got her some goodies to decorate her apartment because SORORITY DECOR AND STUFF IS SO FUN. If you’re ever wondering what to get for the college girl/sorority girl/graduate in your life, you can never go wrong with a good old themed gift basket. I took this opportunity to kill two birds with one stone by making a bid day birthday basket. SO FUN.


All you need is $30-$45 and a trip to Hobby Lobby or Michaels. I tend to splurge on gifts because I LOVE giving people things. It’s kind of my love language.

My sorority-themed gift basket included:

  1. a wooden basket with handles– farm chic and functional, so she can use it as decor in her apartment
  2. green, red, and white confetti– those are her sorority colors
  3. three wooden letters, AGD– gold and sparkly, and standing for Alpha Gamma Delta (AGD)
  4. a cute stemless wine glass– because, let’s be real, college kids like wine too
  5. a monogrammed jewelry dish– she can use it to hold her sorority pin, so she doesn’t lose it
  6. a cute quote canvas about sisterhood– cliche, but fantastically on point
  7. red bows– because I like to be fancy

I had so much fun putting this little gift basket together. It made me feel young again.

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