Medicine of the Highest Order

This morning as I rolled down the hall to the surgery wing for my third operation in less than a year, there were some reservations in the back of my mind about my ability to tolerate the anesthesia given my decline in health since last summer.  But overall, I had a feeling of assurance from my previous experiences and the fact that this surgery wasn’t going to involve a flap after all.  I’ve grown to know and highly respect my surgical team and knew I would be under the best care with Drs. O’Keefe and Mitten. As I gave my family fist bumps and headed back to the pre-op room there was not nearly the drama or intensity of my first surgery.

And of course, I was sure to bring a camera for Dr. Mitten so he could take some photos of the surgery for the blog.  He caught all the right scenes but unfortunately we handed the camera off to him in the wrong mode, a macro setting for close ups.  Disappointingly, all of our pictures came out blurry but maybe this is better so as to limit the shock value .  The picture below of the exposed tumor right before removal gives a pretty good idea without being too grotesque.

The surgery couldn’t have gone any smoother.  The only real pain I felt was when I woke up from the anesthesia and experienced sharp pains from the incision.  With the addition of a morphine drip to my IV, all pain diminished quickly.  Ahhhhh!  I met with O’Keefe and Mitten where I got the low down; they explained that the surgery had gone very well and they expect a quick and healthy recovery with only one night in the hospital.

For the remainder of the day I was a little challenged by the loopiness of the pain drugs…good thing I was in the company of close friends and family.  No hallucinations, but nonetheless, Aaron’s interpretation of Gollum was definitely enhanced as he joined me in the hospital via FaceTime on our iPhones .

My great care continued through the night thanks to my cousin Peter who just happened to be one of the Orthopaedic nurses on duty.  Thanks to Strong for “medicine of the highest order,” and to friends and family for all your love and support!


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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29 Responses to Medicine of the Highest Order

  1. Aaron says:

    I can’t believe you posted it!

    It was great talking to you last night! Now hurry up and heal so we can go riding.

  2. Dad says:

    Now its out, Bret – the world is seeing the brother we kept in the cellar all these years.

    • Cousin Geoffrey says:

      Wow – amazing first glimpses of Foefen. He/it resembles Aaron – if I remember right, they were twins, correct?

    • Dawn says:

      Jim- Re:Aaron/Foefen: Is this one of those times you wished you had spent more time with him when he was little? All I have to say is he is PRECIOUS!!!!!
      We are watching,

  3. Daniel says:

    Bret! I am delighted that your surgery went well! Everybody I know was hoping for such a positive outcome. The whole Gollum bit was genius, Aaron is a stitch.

    Here is a link to an amusing Gollum on Harley:

    Rest up good so you can hop on yours.

  4. Nanette & Bob Cownie says:

    Bret – It sounds like there are many more miles to be traveled with family and friends….Continue to believe in the power of so many lifting you up with their thoughts, prayers and love….

  5. Sherri Kennedy says:

    So glad that’s behind you! Sounds like it could not of happened any better. Now it’s time for resting, healing, and planning….Planning your next adventure. I had a conference in Seattle Washington this past year and took vacation on the front end of it to explore the area since I had never been there. We took one day and spent it at Mt. St. Helen’s. The side of the mountain blew off on May 18, 1980. We explored the information center which had great books and pictures. Then we took a 30 minute helicopter ride over and into Mt. St. Helen’s. It was unbelievable – the size, the water fall inside and the steam venting from it. There are still trees laying in the “blast zone” as they fell that day. We saw all of the lakes created by the blast and the still sterile land that exists. We then drove through the area until the main highway ended. It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen. Do some ‘googling’ about it and see if you are interested.
    Take care of yourself and Shannon. Enjoy all of your Mom’s good cooking. I know she enjoys watching you eat what she’s cooked for you as much as you enjoy eating it – that’s what we Mom’s do!
    Much love to all.

  6. Donald & Laurie Fox says:

    Glad to hear the surgery went well … you’ll be back on the road soon!

  7. Christine says:

    We’re so pleased to hear the surgery went well. I keep hearing that a positive mental state makes a world of difference. I think you’re proof of that. Keep smiling!

  8. Ashley says:

    Woo hoo! I’m so happy to read that everything went well and that the folks at Dana Farber took such great care of you. Wishing you a speedy recovery so you can get back out on the road…looking forward to reading more about your travels!

  9. Cuzin Katie says:

    love it aaron 🙂 glad to hear that the surgery went well Bret! We are deep into Mardi Gras down here… I wish you could see the floats, costumes, craziness and of course– the beads!! Last night I caught a feather boa off one of the floats 🙂

  10. David and Laraine says:

    SO happy that your surgery went well! We here in the ‘ville are breathing a sigh of relief! Now you hurry up and heal, so that you can enjoy some time at home and then…. hit the road again!
    Love to both you and Shannon and your terrific family!
    David and Laraine

  11. jessica parker says:

    I graduated Wayland school a couple years under u.
    I have told my husband all about you. My daughter is in strong hospital. She is 11 months old and has been in and out of the hospital for 4 months of those 11 months. Her name is Haven. She is undiagnosed and the docs struggle to find the problem she has a tube that feeds her intestines about one drip an hour. And another tube that just drains her stomach so nothing nothing is in her stomach. She also has a broviac in her heart. This is where she gets almost all of her nutrients and fats to sustain life. She gets nothing by mouth. Ar this point all we know ia that her digestive track barely works.. I gave followed your blog daily. And Haven has a smile that would melt your heart. Right now she is in string 4-3600. She is room 18. I would love to meet you and have you meet her. She will bring you a smile. My husband is there today bc I am under the weather but I will be up there by 12 tomorrow. If there’s anyway you feel up to meeting her it would mean so much to talk with you. If anything she will bring you joy. Also we will be heading to boston in a few months to have more motility tests. Thank you- Jessica parker

  12. Geof Williams says:

    Its great to hear that the operation went well and that you are on the mend!

  13. jessica parker says:

    Wow your heart of compassion amazes me. My husband said you came…so sorry Haven was sleeping. We hopefully be coming out of the hospital Monday with all of her tubes. We live in Wayland. If you are in town maybe we can meet when Shes not sleeping:) thank you again. My phone number is 585-465-1926. Let me know if we can meet up before you head back out on your travels. I don’t know why bit something inside me just keeps saying they have to meet:)

  14. jessica parker says:

    Or do u live in rochester? Because we can come your way after Shea discharged.

  15. jessica parker says:

    I have something for you too:)

  16. Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon says:

    Dear Bret,
    You look too good to be in the hospital! 🙂 Hopefully by the time you are reading this you will be out and home recuping with lots of love and good nursing TLC from Shanny and your Mom and Dad. We’re so glad things went so well and the surgery turned out to be so much less involved than first expected. So much love, support, thoughts and prayers were with you yesterday and I know will continue to be with you each and every day. Now on to the business of healing and getting rested up to continue on your trip. Enjoy the planning of where to next as you map out your route towards Alaska. Let me know what kind of cookies or other homemade goodies sound good so I can get baking and have a stash ready for you guys for the road.
    Take good care, mind your nurse (Shannon) and lots of love and hugs to you both.

  17. Mandy Lindsey Cayouette says:

    Really glad to hear how well your surgery went – we’ve been thinking of you all week and keeping you in our prayers as always. I was oddly fascinated by the tumor pic, so maybe it’s best that there weren’t more of those to post. 🙂

    I keep up w/the blog every day (I mean, who doesn’t?) and can’t wait to hear about the next chapter of the adventure. Thanks for the daily reminders of what it means to really really live (and to quote Thoreau and “Dead Poets’ Society”, to ‘suck the marrow out of life’). Take care!

  18. Julie says:

    Bret, you (and your family) are a true inspiration! Thank you for your blog….. your courage and compassion inspire us all!

  19. jessica parker says:

    [IMG][/IMG] and one more pic

    • jessica parker says:

      Sorry im a little technology challenged. Hoping we can meet up but that u can get around and back on the road soon. Someday when Havens health ia up to traveling we are going to g somewhere nice. She’s to young right now for make a wish. Keep on going. Your an inspiration!

  20. jessica parker says:

  21. Diane Bergvall says:

    I’m so glad your surgery is behind you and you can once again start planning more of your awesome trip. Hope your recovery is speedy. Thanks so much for your blog. It makes us feel like we’re on this trip with you!

  22. Debbie says:

    Hello Road Warriors!

    Bret–so fantastic to hear the surgery went well and it sounds like (if the weather cooperates) you’ll be back on the bike soon. I know the ultimate destination is Alaska with the warmer weather and I say go for it! Also–I have a few TV friends who live in Oregon and up into the Seattle region, so if you need a place to stow the bike and trailer, let me know so I can hook you guys up 🙂

    Be on the lookout for prezzies this week on your doorstep and of course, I want to see pics of the reactions. Nothing like Christmas in March ya know.

    All the best of love and my hugs and kisses- missing you guys!


  23. Zeke and Mary Lou says:

    Bret, I have read so many of people saying that they were praying for you. Through my years of living, I have depended on prayer. Nothing makes one closer to God than thru prayer. He and only he can give peace to ones soul and mind. Trusting in him will give you the faith and peace to go thru anything that make come ones way. I love to read the replies when one says to you that they are praying for you. Tells me that they know in whom they believe and put their trust in. Here is hoping you will do the same.

    Love you and also praying for you

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