Cancer warrior, Healing Machine

16 Sep

The next time we were in NYC was for Jackson’s surgery on May 8, 2009.

We were told it could take up to eight hours to complete, but it only took four. Thankfully, the majority of the tumor was necrotic (dead) thanks to the three rounds of chemo Jackson had been through, and it peeled away from his vena cava in just about one piece. Dr. L then took his time searching from his chest all the way to his pelvis for affected lymph nodes and took quite a few.

When we were informed the surgery was done, we huddled in a care room waiting for the surgeon to give us news. I remember just pacing back and forth. He came in and delivered the news just like he was telling us the weather.

“I got it all.”

Can you imagine that feeling?! I wanted to jump on this very serious, composed surgeon like a football player who just won the Superbowl. He got a hug from me. And then from pretty much the rest of our family waiting in the room. That memory cracks me up now.

Soon we were able to see Jackson, still under the effects of anesthesia, his little body lying naked on a gurney with tubes coming out of everywhere and a large white bandage across his stomach. Who saw the tubes? We were so immensely proud of him!

Before we knew it, Jackson went from being on a ventilator with IVs in both hands and feet and both lumens of his central line, a chest tube, catheter and major abdominal wound, to being discharged from the hospital in just FIVE days. Seriously miraculous.

We were flying home to VA two days after that and back to his next round of chemo.


This photo was taken at Sloan Kettering, four days after surgery. Jackson needed a little help keeping his sats up once the chest tube was pulled, so he was on oxygen, but had just begun eating, standing and sitting up on his own. We were watching Bolt and napping on and off.

Personally, I couldn’t wait to be discharged because we’d just gotten a screamer as our roommate and I so tired. I’d been holding my hands over Jackson’s ears while he slept so he could rest and the days were catching up to me.

Look at that little face…I just want to climb into bed with him again and tell how this all turns out.

Jackson Bensten, cancer warrior, healing machine.

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