Thursday, August 29, 2013

Patrick is Home!

Patrick is home!

Ring the bells and cheer aloud ... Patrick is home from the hospital!

I talked last evening to Emily, and she told me that Patrick had been discharged from UVA hospital yesterday about 2pm.  Before he left, both of his drains and his incision staples were removed.  He still has sutures in place, and these will be removed in one week. 

Thus far, Patrick had been feeling really good since leaving to hospital for the comfort of home. Emily said his appetite had returned and, although he was "taking it easy," he was enjoying the opportunity to eat real food again.  His nausea and vomiting have lessened a huge deal.  Also, Patrick's pain is well managed, and he has even taken a "real" shower.  Emily sounded quite proud of him!

The Shaws are finally taking the next few days to recoup energy at home (and relishing the ability to sleep without interruption).  They continue to ask for and immensely appreciate your support and heartfelt prayers for Patrick's continued healing. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Nausea and Vomiting

Today has been a difficult day for Emily and Patrick Shaw.  Unfortunately, Patrick was unable to be discharged to come home due to continued nausea and vomiting.  His ostomy has begun to work well; however, doctors have been puzzled by his continuing malaise.

After drawing some labs, doctors ordered Patrick to have a CT scan today to view his internal organs.  The good news is:  no "obvious issues" were discovered.  However, this means that the current reason for his nausea and vomiting is an "ileus" (sleeping bowel).  In other words, Patricks' digestive tract is taking a very long time to recover from the trauma of surgery.  While this will eventually resolve, doctors are unable to give Emily and Patrick an exact timeline as to when it will.  That means that Patrick's nausea and vomiting may continue awhile longer.

Because Dr. Friel was not in the hospital tonight, Patrick was asked to stay another night.  Tomorrow he will meet with Dr. Friel to discuss how to proceed.  At this time, the Shaws do not yet know when Patrick will be discharged to home.

Please pray for Patrick's GI tract to awaken and begin working properly.  Also pray diligently for Patrick's comfort ... as NO ONE enjoys feeling nauseous and vomiting!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Update from Patrick

Here's an update directly from Patrick today!

The plans have been set for Patrick to come home from this hospital tomorrow!  All of his IV pain medications have been discontinued to move him forward with recovery; therefore, he is experiencing more pain today (even a few new pains).  Prayer in this area would be greatly appreciated. 

Within the last 24 hours, he has begun eating "regular" foods again. His nausea has somewhat subsided, but his digestive functions are still mending. Please continue praying for normal function to return and his ostomy to become active. 

Patrick will go home tomorrow will several drains (around his surgical wounds).  Over the next several weeks, he will have appointments to remove those drains as well as the staples that close his surgical incisions.  

Please continue to lift the Shaws up in prayer ... Both for healing and peace from stress. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Specific Prayer Request

Hello again prayer warriors. 

I just wanted to drop in with a quick update about Patrick's progress. I have spoken with Emily on and off for the last few days as Patrick adjusts post-op.  He has been walking like a champ!  His doctors and nurses have been so proud of his stamina and determination to not only meet but exceed the care "goals" in place for him. 

He has, however, been suffering from a great deal of nausea and vomiting.  This is partially due to the nature of the surgical procedure he had done ... And also due to a slow-moving ostomy (which is normal soon after creation).  Emily has asked for very targeted prayer over the next few days that PATRICK'S DIGESTIVE SYSTEM BEGINS TO FUNCTION NORMALLY AGAIN.  It is "normal" for it to take some time for digestive functions to regulate ... But that does NOT mean it is easy!  Please lift Patrick up in this way. 

Your continued and additional prayers are always appreciated. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A New Day

I have spoken via text message with Emily throughout the day today. She has given me a few updates on Patrick and how he's been recovering on his first day post-op. 

Naturally, Patrick was very disappointed (to say the least) that the end result was, in fact, a permanent colostomy. Emily said he was "bummed" but very "matter of fact."  She also shared with me that he was just very thankful that his bladder and prostate were able to be left intact.  In the end, I think Patrick and Emily both understand that the colostomy is Patrick's best chance at beating the big C. 

This evening, Emily told me that Patrick had been up and walking several times today. By the end of the day, she said he had "exceeded his goal" and been up walking in the hallway.  She says that he is "sore" (especially from the activity) but that his pain meds are working well.  

When Emily left the hospital this evening, she said Patrick was resting.  As pain meds oftentimes do, they were making Patrick very itchy (side effect).  So, he had been given some IV Benadryl and was turning in for the night. 

There is not yet an exact timeline as to the various consults Patrick will have while at UVA or exactly how long he will remain in the hospital.  However, let's all remain faithful in our prayers for the Shaws as they move forward on this journey. 

Pray on! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Out of Surgery!

Patrick is out of surgery!

I recently got off the phone with Emily.  Her voice was shaky, but overall she sounded good.  Dr. Friel had just been in to speak with she and the family, as Patrick was taken to the recovery room.

Dr. Friel told Emily that although the surgery was very involved and complex, it went "as well as he could have hoped."  He told her that the tumor was still very much present (although smaller) in the rectum.  He had concerns that the tumor was still very close to Patrick's prostate.  This is partially what made the surgery take a bit longer than expected as Dr. Friel worked diligently to separate the tumor tissue from the prostate.  Good job prayer warriors!

In the end, Dr. Friel was able to remove the complete tumor WITHOUT removing Patrick's bladder or prostate.  He expressed some continued concerns to Emily about the cancer returning in these organs.  However, because he was highly unsure whether it was malignant tumor or simple scar tissue (from radiation) that was interwoven with these organs, he did not want to remove them unnecessarily.  At this time, he said he would simply "hope for the best."  But ... we know we're going to pray!

Patrick was given a colostomy after the tumor removal.  However, prior to the surgery, his abdomen was marked in two different places ... one for a permanent and one for a temporary colostomy.  Therefore, although a temporary colostomy was not really considered ... there is a possibility that this will be the case.  Emily is hoping and praying for the best!

Emily will be allowed to see Patrick once he is awake in the recovery room.  The Shaws have a long night ahead and a long journey toward recovery.

I do not think any additional updates will follow this evening.  However, as I speak to Emily tomorrow ... I will return and update the blog.

Thank you for your concern and prayers today.  Please continue to lift up Emily and Patrick as they set out on the next chapter in this story of ... God Healing Patrick!

God bless and goodnight!


... Still in Surgery

Dr. Friel has ensured Emily that everything is going well. However, Patrick is still in surgery as of 9:20pm and could possibly remain in surgery for 2 or more additional hours. 

Either the surgeon will update Emily when the procedure is complete ... Or Emily will receive another nurse call in 2 more hours. 

Keep lifting them up!


Hello prayer warriors!

Just spoke with Emily.  Patrick is doing well in the OR.  The surgeon anticipates another 2+ hours of surgery as they remove the tumor and create the colostomy.  So, please pray for Emily as she continues to support Patrick. This has been a very long and arduous day. 

After the surgery, Patrick will go to the PACU to recover and then be moved to his room.  As a guess (from me) the Shaws may be looking at about midnight before they are settled. I am unsure how many more updates will be available tonight, but I will continue updating until midnight as Emily contacts me .. Then resume in the morning. 

Dr. Friel will be speaking with Emily and the family when the surgery is complete. At that time, more details will be available about the overall outcome of the procedure. 

Emily asks that everyone lift up Patrick ... specifically for the moment when he is told that he does have the colostomy as he was dreading this possibility. 

Check back!


Emily just received a call from Dr. Friel that the tumor was still there. 

The surgery will proceed as planned. She may receive another update around 7pm. 


Here's where our hearts break ... But we have to trust in God's bigger wisdom. 


Please pray specifically for:
1.  Dr. Friel's execution of the procedure. 
2.  Patrick's safety. 
3.  That Patrick's bladder and prostate are not jeopardized. 
4.  For Emily as her heart breaks for her husband. 
5.  For Patrick's heart when he wakes up to the new challenges that face him. 


I just heard from Emily that Patrick has been taken back to the OR. The actual scope and following surgery is likely to begin around 5:15pm once Patrick is asleep.  Emily will await a call from Dr. Friel after the scope is complete to tell her whether or not the surgery will proceed as scheduled. If so, it will take approximately 4 hours.

Trusting in the lyrics of a favorite worship song that there is still much hope:
How great is our God,
Sing with me ... How great is our God,
And all will see,
How great, how great, is our God!


Patrick is in pre-op right now. Emily said that Dr. Friel (the surgeon) had already been in to talk with them. They are waiting to consult with the anesthesiologist. Dr. Friel told them he expects to begin the procedure around 4:30pm and that, if Patrick does need a colostomy, the procedure will last about 4 hours. 

Along with your usual prayers, please pray for stamina as Emily and Patrick are having a much longer day than anticipated. 

Surgical Prep

I just heard from Emily that Patrick went back from surgical prepping about 1:30pm this afternoon.  She will continue to update me as she is able.  However, her cell is not receiving adequate signal.

Keep praying ... and BELIEVING ... that the tumor is GONE!


Emily and Patrick are currently at UVA awaiting Patrick's surgery. Dave Mercer, a nurse practitioner and Wound Ostomy Continence nurse (who I know personally and is incredible) has met with Patrick this morning and "marked" him for his colostomy. Take heart ... That still does NOT mean Patrick WILL be getting one!  He will not be scoped until he is under anesthesia in the OR.  Pray on!

The Shaws are now waiting for their buzzer to alarm, indicating it is time for Patrick to be prepped for the procedure. 

Continue lifting them up,
More updates to follow!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tomorrow at 10

Hello everyone!  This begins my best effort at "real time" updates on Patrick and Emily Shaw as Patrick prepares to undergo surgery tomorrow to remove the tumor in his rectum. Tomorrow, as Emily is able to provide me information and periodic updates, I will be posting to this blog. The entires will be very short and are intended to provide concise updates for all friends and family to read and target their prayers.  I suspect there will be multiple "real-time" (or close to it) updates throughout the day, so please check back frequently!  Both Patrick and Emily appreciate your continued support and prayers. 

The Shaws were just instructed to report to the University of Virginia Health System (hospital) tomorrow (8/16/13) at 10:00am.  Otherwise, there is no exact timeline at this time. 

As you lift the Shaws up in prayer today, please pray specifically for:

1.  Patrick's tumor to have DISAPPEARED so he may forego surgery altogether. 
2.  Dr. Friel's best discretion and execution of the procedure tomorrow. 
3.  Emily's health as she has a cold and is feeling under the weather. 
4.  Patrick's peace if this surgery requires a colostomy or other medical intervention. 
5.  Patrick's strength tonight as he begins "prepping" for tomorrow's procedure. 

Thanks and God bless!

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Hi everyone!

I just wanted to take the opportunity to share some photographs I took this week of Emily & Patrick with everyone who is praying for Patrick's healing!

Enjoy a "sneak peek" of their session with Favorite Things Photography (me!).
(and "like" Favorite Things Photography on Facebook if you have the chance)