Surgery Day

1:51p.m.  Just learned they are closing Jack up…. Dr. Piatt will be out with our next (and final) surgery update.  The nurse said he asked how WE were doing out here.  🙂  The social worker found us a sleeper room for the night.  The road is about to get harder before it gets easier, but I think we’ll still be on the road by the end of the day, and that’s all that matters.  Still holding Jack’s rattle in my hands.  I wonder if he will ever be able to believe and truly understand how many people care so much about him…

1:10p.m.  Wow!  Just learned that Dr. Piatt is finished with the microscope and has called for Jack’s derma patch (sp?)  The nurse explained that this means he is finishing up the tumor removal, and that closing up is not far away.  I can’t believe it- seems far ahead of schedule, though it will still take them plenty of time to close up the wound.  Jack is doing fine so far.  We are all watery with relief.  I just got some helpful therapy from a therapy dog named Chester and had a nice conversation with a family whose son is having an operation related to his CP condition.  John has rubbed the finish off of the word “miracle” on the worry stone that Marie gave us.  I’m hanging on to Jack’s special rattle with white knuckles.  I can’t wait for this part to be over!  (Scratch that- I can wait as long as it takes!)

12:20p.m.  Sorry for the delay- the wireless here is very poor.  Just heard that Dr. Piatt has completed the initial work on the tumor and is now working with the microscope.  This allows him to view minuscule vessels and cells and to continue to detach the tumor with a fine level of precision.  Jack is doing well and is stable.  We are all shaky, but flooded with relief at each update that we receive from the nurse.  I’m actually back in the PICU… I’d gone to see if I could get a better signal and to pick up the sandwiches that our friend Julia brought up last night.  When I got to Jack’s room, I was surprised to find Chuck helping to move our things.  PICU staff found us a bigger room with a bathroom!  What a nice surprise.    Jack will be resting in style when he gets out.

10:00a.m.  The OR nurse liaison (whose name, coincidentally, is Meg), just reported that Dr. Piatt has made the initial incision.  As Dr. Piatt had explained to us earlier, he entered through Jack’s initial incision at the nape of the neck (the biopsy site), and is going to make a long incision from the nape up, then over to the back of the ear.  He described it roughly being the shape of a hockey stick.  (Whew…)  I don’t know much about Dr. Piatt other than his credentials, but we have noticed he is quite fond of bow ties.  I’m trying to pass the time today by picking out a nice one for him so that Jack can give it to him as a gift. (John’s idea.)

9:15a.m.  Jack is resting comfortably in the OR.  No more news yet.  The nurses here gave us a code number which we can use to look up Jack’s status on a big LCD screen on the wall.  All the patients in the OR are listed there with a status.  Jack’s currently says “INTRA-OP”.  It kind of reminds me of arrivals and departures screens in an airport.  I’m focusing on it that way.  It’s an arrival screen.  Later today, after a  hard journey, I believe that Jack is going to arrive just in time to enjoy the rest of his life.


We are now in the surgical waiting room along with Jack’s Gramma, Nana, Opa, and Da.  Jack is in good hands with the anesthesiology staff and the OR staff, and after the rough night that he had (see John’s comment on the last post) we feel a sense of relief that we have finally arrived at surgery day.  Dr. Piatt spoke to us this morning and we were encouraged by his attitude.  He had his “game face” on for sure.  There may be up to two hours of prep time in the OR for Jack, and another six of surgery.  It’s going to be an intense day.  Thanks for sharing the road with us today.


29 thoughts on “Surgery Day

  1. Carey Whittier

    From one mom to another who has had to endure surgeries on one of her babies at such a young age…my heart is with you all today. In no way was our situation as complicated as yours. I do know that miracles can and do happen everyday and that is what we are boldly asking for. Thankfully we have a faith that keeps us going and we know that our children were gifts given to us. Since my son, Jared who is in your father’s class at LH shared with me your story this week, we have been praying for you all. You have been on our hearts and minds. Sending prayers of peace, rest and strength beyond understanding. Sincerely, C Whittier

  2. tmel2014

    Good to know that even the animal kingdom is on board with the Bounce Back Jack team. Dogs are amazing.

    All out thoughts are with you and your wonderful family, stay strong.

  3. Julia

    It’s good to see a smiley face in one of your updates. I hope very soon you’ll be seeing one of Jack’s quiet smiles, as well.

  4. jannmarie

    Reblogged this on Jann Marie EDUC and commented:
    For all of you associated with UD and beyond, send your prayers and strength to Meg and her family as they deal with surgery for her young son, Jack.

  5. jannmarie

    Dear Meg and Family,
    My prayers are with you and little Jack. Sending you lots and lots of positive energy, love and strength.

  6. John - Jack's dad

    I just finished talking with some wonderful ladies who let me pet their therapy dog Chester. Her son had a brain operation done by Dr. Piatt and she said he is amazing. Hearing that from another patient was reassuring.

  7. Carol Eichinger

    Good thoughts, love and positive energy for you guys today. All of you are fighters in every sense of the word.

  8. Sean

    Jack is a true fighter! I’m sending him plenty of positive energy today!

    We’re all rooting for Jack here in 117!

  9. Valerie Jones

    Meg, you have all been in my thoughts and prayers since I first heard about your journey. As Leigh said, we are all joining you in a larger waiting room, sending prayers and positive thoughts to you all, especially Jack and the surgical team. Hang in there.

  10. Beth (William's wife)

    Thank you so much for this blog – it has helped me feel a part of Jack’s journey and your pain as parents. Every parent reading your blog has a catch in their heart for you because we all know nothing is more painful to a parent than to see their child in pain.

    On this long, mind numbing day, I hope you are encouraged by some Bible verses I love from the book of Philippians which encourage us to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication [earnest requests], with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

    I am praying that this day of waiting will be one of peace for you and the whole family. We know Jack’s guardian angel is with him in the surgery room, and Jack and all of you are being held up by many, many prayers for his healing and recovery, your emotional well-being, and the doctors skill and wisdom.

    I am looking forward to the day when I can come help cook or clean or do something for your family. Until that time, I am waiting with you doing the work of prayer along with your many other friends and family.

    God be with all of you today.

  11. Sonya Wulff

    Our Deepest Hearts, our Highest Minds and our Truest Spirits are focused on the Intention of The Highest andThe Best for Bounce Back Jack and The Forces that surround him.
    We are with you with Light and Love,
    Sonya and Scott Gray-Wulff,
    Wallingford, CT

  12. Bob Totz

    Dear Meg and John, thank you so much for keeping us all up to date during this most difficult journey.
    Jack and the surgical team are getting lots of prayers sent up from us here in Vermont. Jack is one fortunate boy to have so many kind people praying and pulling for him. Hoping for good news at the end of the day. Love, Uncle Bobby and Aunt Jill Totz

  13. Darlene

    Praying for Bounce Back Jack, knowing his physicians’ hands are being guided by God. I know you are surrounded by family, friends, angels and lots of prayers, including mine. ((Hugs))

  14. Leigh

    Meg, I don’t know of a single person in the library who isn’t pulling for Jack and thinking of you while we wait by our computers for news. Thanks to your blog, it’s as though we’re all in a larger waiting room–although we can’t be right beside you, everyone is holding you in their hearts and sending positive energy to Bounce Back Jack.

  15. Paige

    Sending huge prayers and love to you all! 🙏❤️ You are amazing writing and keeping us all up to date! ((((Hugs)))) love you!!

    1. Kathy and everyone- thank you so much. We are so lucky to have you all beside us today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am picturing your candle burning at work and it is bringing a lot of warmth to me today.

      We are all thinking positively and trying our best to imagine telling Jack about all of this years from now when the danger is past.

  16. George

    Today is the first day of Jack’s healing – the day his tumor is removed. Although the road ahead is still a long one, you will be helped along this journey by hopeful and loving family and friends and some of the best pediatric doctors, nurses, and staff in the world.

    I hope that that the surgery goes well, and that one day this date will be celebrated as Jack’s “second birthday.” In the meantime, from near and afar, there are many who are with your family this day.

    1. George- I was so moved by your last comment. Thank you so much for reaching out. I hope that some day soon we can share stories from the vantage point of “glad that’s all over”.

      You wrote, “today is the first day of Jack’s healing”. That is exactly what we are trying to focus upon. Jack’s grandmother said, ‘Today is the day that we get him back.” We’re holding on to that. I hope you and your family are well, and thank you for being a friend to us, though we have not met in person.

  17. Liz & Mary

    Thinking of all of you this morning! Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. We have faith in both the doctors and little Jack.
    Hugs&Prayers from CT

  18. Janel

    I have met you at UD and had no idea about what you and your precious baby are facing right now until you tweeted this link. I am holding you all, especially Jack, in my thoughts at the time.

  19. Dear Meg, and all the Gaffeys and Grottis,
    I am at my sister’ house in Lancaster and I could not find a candle, so I lit a big fire at 7:45 in honor of Jack and have been holding you all in its light since then. My love and positive energy is flowing towards Wilmington right now–Jeff’s too. All the best for baby Jack.

    1. Bobbie- thank you so much. I’m picturing everyone’s light (of all different kinds!) shining for Jack today. Thanks for sending light to Jack, and more, for being a friend to us for so many, many years. I can’t wait for you to meet Jack and Sam.

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