A week ago today, Ruben was scheduled for his esophagectomy at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. The day before his surgery, we had a blast (pun intended). We went to the shooting range…
And then we went to Lawry’s for Ruben’s last hearty meal before a dramatic lifestyle and diet change post surgery. Ruben wanted a delicious prime rib and Lawry’s is his favorite!
After dinner, I wanted a quick photo of Ruben and his daughters as we waited for the fancy valet to bring our car.
We needed to be at the hospital by 5:30am the next morning and Ruben decided to stay up all night. I played card game, Casino, with him until about 2am when he graciously encouraged me to go to bed after kicking my ass the entire night. True story.
The morning of his surgery, Ruben was in encouraging spirits. He was completely awake and ready to go. Brisa, Feliz and I packed laptops, tablets, heated blankets, pillows, snacks, games, etc. for the ensuing 8-12 hour surgery. We were thoroughly prepared. When Ruben’s name was called, we said our goodbyes and just like that, he was whisked away from us. Two hours into the surgery, we received a phone call from the surgeon, Dr. Oh, and said he needed to talk to us. Instantly, we were worried. Minutes later, Dr. Oh appeared and proceeded to share with us that Ruben’s liver cirrhosis is too extensive to survive the surgery. They were a bit concerned about his liver prior to the surgery, but none of the lab work nor exams showed the severity of his liver disease. From his experience, Dr. Oh gave Ruben a 10%-30% chance of surviving the surgery which was not high enough of a percentage to continue. Brisa and Feliz were stunned and upset, but thankful that their dad would be able to enjoy Christmas and at home. Without missing a beat, as soon as we brought him home from the hospital, he wanted to go watch a movie!
Unfortunately, surgery was Ruben’s best chance to rid the cancer. His medical team will confer to give him their best suggestions for potential treatment. There is not a definitive timeframe for his prognosis and so we are doing our best by taking things day to day. Ruben continues to be fiercely positive and upbeat. His overall perspective inspires me to enjoy the moments more and to recognize the pointlessness of worrying. God has a plan for all.
Thank you again for your well wishes, thoughts and prayers. Ruben, his family and I greatly appreciate everything that you have done for him!