At the Hospital

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog posts to bring you updates to Meredith’s surgery and recovery by your behind the scenes tech guy – a.k.a her husband Ed.  I am not going to pretend to be as good a writer as Meredith but this will at least keep folks up to date on her progress.

If you know Meredith then you are fully aware that yesterday and last night where devoted to creating lists, checking off lists and organizing everything that could possibly need to be done over the next several days.  I have learned not to fight this “nesting” behavior – you can’t suppress it.  In the end you will eventually end up with a sticky note placed on you forehead listing what you should wear the next morning and that you need to scoop the liter box.

Our main focus was to make sure Gracie was not anxious about the next day wen mommy had to go to the hospital and was up and ready to go to school in the morning.  Fortunately my mom “Nonna” was able to spend the night and help out.  I think Gracie understands that mommy won’t be home for a few days and that daddy will be with mommy.  So Gracie’s sees me taking my laptop and immediately demands “well then we can just Skype with mommy when she is done with surgery”.  I had to break it to her that I was fairly certain that looking into a webcam is probably the last thing mommy is going to want to do post surgery, but maybe the following day.

Morning chaos under our belt, we said goodbye’s to Gracie and had a big family hug.  Gracie really has done well with dealing with everything – so proud of her.

7:50 AM – depart for hospital

7:55 AM – Atlanta traffic sucks!

8:35 AM – Check in for inpatient stay/surgery at the outpatient admissions office??

8: 45 AM – Nurse is taking Meredith back for initial pre-op paper work/IV fluids.  I set up command center in the waiting room.  Text updates are flying out.

9:00 AM – It looks like a morning marathon of “Saved by the Bell” is going to be playing on the waiting room TV.  I will need waaaaay more coffee if I am going to be hanging out with Skreech and crew for a while.

9:30 AM – Go back and can sit with Meredith during radiology prep. I don’t know how she does it, but the woman can look good in a hospital gown and fuzzy compression socks.   Part of the procedure is that they are going to need to inject her with radioactive dye.  This will be used by the breast surgeon to interrogate the Sentinel Lymph nodes to determine if any cancer cells are present.

10:00 AM – Waiting to go over to Radiology

10:30 AM – Meredith has to go over to radiology and nuclear medicine for the dye injection and scan.  I get to go back to “Saved by the Bell”.  By the way Meredith is such a rockstar.  I am pretty sure I would be in the fetal position right now, but she is calm and ready to get this done.

11:00AM – Meredith is still in radiology.  In other news, we have upgraded from “Saved by the Bell” to “Fresh Prince of BellAire”

11:50 AM – Meredith is back from radiology.  They had to inject the dye directly into her boob.  I am not going to pretend I know what that feels like but according to Meredith – not so good.  She is back in the prep room now and the reconstructive surgeon has already “marked” her up with markers to indicate where the incisions will be made.  Much to my protest, she declined my offer to photograph the markings for historical reference.

12:20 PM – The nurse has come in and is prepping Meredith for the trip to the anesthesiologist.  She has given Meredith a “cocktail” injection to take the edge off.  The nurse has also place what looks like an aluminum

Fashionable surgery wear is a wide open business opportunity

shower cap on Meredith’s head.

12:58 PM – Kissing your wife and having to leave before the staff wheels her back to begin the surgical process is one of the hardest things to do.

1:00 PM – I probably will not hear anything for about 3 hours.  Here is the plan of action as we know it now.  The reconstructive surgeon will start first and harvest the latisimus muscle from her back to be used in the final reconstruction.  They will flip Meredith over and then the breast surgeon will come in and perform the mastectomies.  Once she is done I should get an update on the overall progress.  Finally the reconstructive surgeon will come back in and finish the reconstruction process by inserting the spacers and utilizing the harvested latisimus muscles.  I should get an update after the reconstruction is done and she will then be transferred to a recovery room.  So if all holds as planned I probably won’t see Meredith for about 6 hours.  And for those keeping track soap operas are now on in the waiting room…..woof.

3:01 PM – Waiting is the worst part.  Actually knowing you are powerless to do anything to help is the worst.

3:10 PM – Got a little info!  Meredith’s breast surgeon came into the waiting room to talk to another family and give them an update.   She saw and recognized me and came over after she was done with her conversation.  She said the reconstruction surgeon was just finishing up sewing up Meredith’s back where he harvested latisimus muscle.  Once he is done she was up to do her part and then she would come out and give me her update of the procedure.

4:26 PM – Hoping to hear from the breast surgeon within the next half hour/45 minutes.

4:53 PM – The breast surgeon just walked in and spoke with me and we got some AWESOME news!  There was no cancer in any lymph nodes!!!!!!  Meredith is doing fine and the reconstruction surgeon is back finishing up the rest of the breast reconstruction procedure.  No cancer cells in the lymph nodes is huge!  It means the chance of having to have radiation is greatly reduced.  It means the chemo definitely did it’s job and from what we know there was no spreading of the breast cancer.  I am doing my happy Snoopy dance now!

6:10 PM – Surgery is done!  The reconstruction surgeon just came out and said Meredith did great.  It was easy as it could be with that type of reconstruction and that her breast are going to turn out great.  That news along with the negative lymph nodes, we got the best case scenario results we could have hoped for.  Meredith is in the process of waking up now and will be moved to a recovery room for about an hour – hour and a half and then will move up to her room.   I will report back this evening after I talk with her and see how she is feeling.  I know I can speak for her when I say a profound Thank You to everyone who has supported us and extended positive thoughts and prayers today and throughout this journey.   I can’t wait to see her!

9:15 PM – Arggg!  Slight change of plans.  Meredith has to go back into surgery.  According to the doctor there is nothing to worry about.  Apparently during her post-op recovery one of her four drains (back left) was draining too much fluid too fast.  This tends to indicate that there is a small blood vessel that is still bleeding.  So, the doctor wants to address this now so as to avoid any further issues/pooling of blood in her back.  It should only be a 30 minute procedure to check and fix the issue, but the thing that sucks is they have to put her back under anesthesia.  Which means she has to go through the whole recovery process again.  I did get to see her and be with her prior to her going back in – for what she has gone through today she looked great.  Obviously not too happy about going under again but understands it is better to address this now.  I think I am going to need some sleeping meds.

10:45 PM – Doctor just came out.  They are finished with round two and he said sure enough there was a small blood vessel that was still bleeding.  They have it all fixed up and Meredith is waking up and will be going through the recovery routine again.  Not how we wanted the evening to go but definitely the right thing to do to address the issue now and I appreciate our doctor being as on top of that as he was.

11:50 PM – Still waiting to see Meredith

12:25 AM – Just heard from the recovery room.  Meredith is awake and doing fine – they should be coming to get me in about 15 minutes.  Great news to hear but can’t wait to see her!

1:05 AM – We are finally in a room and settled.  Meredith looks absolutely fantastic for what she has been through today.  She is exhausted yet alert.  We are getting all the necessary drugs and setup from her nurse now to ensure she gets a good night sleep.  I am about to do a face plant into the smallest most uncomfortable looking mattress ever – and I will enjoy it thoroughly knowing we got through this day together and the road to recovery is underway.


  1. Mary George says:

    Meredith was on my mind so much yesterday that I had a dream about her last night! I will anxiously await news as the day/week progresses. Sending lots of hugs your way!!-Mary

  2. Wendy Mangum says:

    Thanks for the updates Ed…I will be checking in often today to see how she is. Lots of prayers coming her way!

  3. Ed, Thanks for the updates. Nelson and I have been praying for her and I am in constant prayer today. I am with you, I would be in the fetal position. She is a strong woman. I can see it now, the Doc’s will each have post-it notes on their foreheads from her. Keep us posted. Thoughts and prayers with all of you!!

  4. Oh Ed, I hate that you have to be doing this, but i love that you are doing this…. Its so great to know what is going on… we are thinking about you all…. Meredith will be fine.. she is one strong cookie!

  5. Mary Johnson says:

    Wondering if they can fix a “cocktail” for you too???!!! I must say, I’d protest the markings pics too… Meredith is one amazingly strong woman! This is all going to be over soon, and you know she is going to be looking great even post-surgery! Curious as to what’s on in the waiting room now, “Full House”?
    I think all of you are handling this unbelievably well!!!

    Hang in there! Prayers being said for all of you!!!!

  6. Kim Baldwin says:

    You forgot to mention that the sticky notes had the neatest handwriting in the world on them, too!
    Just checking in to see how everything is progressing up there. I will continue to think about you and Meredith. So glad you have her and she has you! 🙂

  7. Ed, you obviously have wi-fi, can you watch NetFlix? Or, just be the brave one and change the channel. Soap Operas are the worst. I love the head cap. She looks great! Sounds like you are hanging in there. How long will she have to have the spacers in before they complete the reconstruction?

  8. THANK THE LORD!!! I have goose bumps all over. I am Soooo excited. Truly this is a blessing. AWESOME!! She is going to recover 100%. Go Gaile Force!!!!

  9. Mary Johnson says:

    Oh, ditto, THANK THE LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The news we’ve all been waiting for!!!! So very happy and thankful to hear the great news!!!! I know you are relieved and Meredith will be too! BTW, can someone in the waiting room record you doing the Snoopy Dance??? I will gladly volunteer to post on YouTube…

    Meredith, way to KICK CANCER BUTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. melissa, Sean and Lydia says:


  11. Kleines are planking :-). What AWESOME news!!! thank you for updating, hopefully it’s helped calm your nerves somewhat today. Whoot-woot for MKG

  12. Stacey Shekerow says:

    OMG – I am crying I’m so excited. Mark and I are doing the SNOOPY DANCE too! Outstanding news on the lymph nodes – Yippe!!! You guys have all been so strong – you should sleep well tonight! Hugs and kisses from us both to all of you!!! Thanks so much for keeping everyone in the loop!

  13. What great news!!!
    Best to the Gaile Family!!!

  14. Yee Haw!!!!! This is amazingly wonderful news! We’ve been checking on your updates all day. Thanks for taking the time to let all of us know the details. Hopefully all your sharing has been cathartic! love love love! xoxoxox

  15. Tears…literally! Tears of joy that the surgery was such a success and her nodes are negative. And tears of laughter at the picture in my head of you doing your snoopy dance! I would have danced with you this time!! Give Meredith my love!

  16. Great news! You and yr family are in our prayers!

  17. We are absolutely full of Joy! Both of you are strong and amazing. See you very soon. MOM and DAD

  18. Bridgette Eckerson says:

    Meredith & Ed,
    I know we haven’t met yet, but I’ve been keeping up with your progress on your blog, and through Will. And how crazy that we both know Ashley! You have been on my mind all day, and right now all I can say is how WONDERFUL it is to have clear lymph nodes! That is the best possible news! And Ed, you are an excellent writer; you conveyed the worried / loving husband emotions perfectly. We are definitely familiar with those around here! So CONGRATULATIONS to both of you on passing another milestone in this journey. I wish you a speedy and quick recovery back to good health.
    Our best to you,
    Bridgette & Will Eckerson

  19. Ed/Meredith, just to let you both know, the Meehans gang is up to
    date and we are all thinking about you. Hoping for a restful night for
    both and
    a speedy recovery for “Supergirl”.

  20. Mary Johnson says:

    Oh wow, can’t believe there was a “round 2”! But, over and done with now! Ed, a big shout out to you for being so supportive!!!!!! I know you are both exhausted! So happy for you guys that this phase is over and on to the recovery stage of this journey!!!!!!!!

    Hugs to you both, and praying for some good rest and a speedy recovery for Meredith!!!!!

  21. Fantastic news and Ed you are wonderful! Hope there were no injuries during the face plant!

  22. melissa, sean, lydia says:

    You are a sweet sweet husband mr ed… thanks for all the updates… sad about round 2 but glad it was addressed so quickly….good luck today… xoxox’s to meredith

  23. Ed – I had the blog pulled up all day and have appreciated the constant updates. It was good to see the humor intertwined with the evident and fully warranted concern. I hate what you guys have had to deal with and am excited about the outcomes. I look forward to future posts.

    My thoughts and prayers always.

  24. Kelly Dobson says:

    Mary sent me your blog address yesterday, and I followed Ed’s updates throughout the day. So sorry for the glitch at the end of an already very long day, but so glad that things went so well, and the cancer is on the run!!! Please know that my carpool offer is a standing one, and if there is anyway that I can help in the coming days, weeks, or months, please don’t hesitate to call or email. Looking forward to a fun year getting to know the Gailes!

  25. I was so happy to read the update this morning! I cried tears of joy for you guys. You all will continue to be in our prayers for speedy healing. <3

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