Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Mon 15th, September: tumour removal & #teambrendanm

This is going to be a long post!

Step 2 ....tumour removal.
Monday the 15th of September 
came around quickly; this is the big one…the week we have been looking forward to with just a little trepidation. Yep! It’s time for the tumour to come out…hallelujah!

We didn’t have to be at pre-admittance until 2 pm, so it wasn’t as early a start as usual. We are going to be away from our kids for longer than ever before and Tyz was being brave, defiantly holding onto the tears welling up in her eyes. Bades had already wrapped his arms around me and buried his face in my chest, his now broader shoulders moving up and down as he sobbed quietly. It’s not long until we are all in tears as final goodbyes are said. Bren hugs and consoles the kids and then turns to his Mum whose face is pale with worry as she squeezes her boy tight. This is hard!

As we drive out of Old Bar Brendan looks at me and says “lucky you didn’t get on facebook this morning!” I ask why, and he says “Sue put up a special message from Tyz and Bades, if you saw it you’d still be crying.” He didn’t elaborate any further.
I didn’t know that this message was among the first of many that would flood our facebook profiles over the next couple of days…and yes I know you all know what I’m talking about! Brendan didn’t let on either until later that night, mind you at that stage he thought a couple of friends had posted messages of support…he didn’t realise #teambrendanm had become a tidal wave of support and positivity.

As we traveled south, about half an hour past Newcastle on the F3, we saw a #teambrendanm poster hanging from the Palmers Road over pass, put there by our niece Tori and her brave boyfriend Brad! It still hadn’t clicked for me that something extraordinary had been unfolding all day, as this was only the second message I was aware of. And Yes!! You all knew, because you were all apart of it!

When organising to be away for the week of the op, both of our Mums and my two sisters asked me if I thought I’d need some support on the day of Brendan’s surgery and I confidently said ...”NO…I’ll be fine.”  I meant it, I was pretty sure I had it all in hand.

Then we had the 3 hour pre admittance that followed our 5 hour trip and we were already both feeling a little weary. It was after sitting down with the nurse and going over the operation, when we found out that Brendan would be losing his whole knee and 20 cm of his femur and not just the top of the knee and a portion of femur like we thought, this consult was then followed by blood collection, then sitting down separately with the occupational therapist and the physiotherapist and then back in with the nurse…that I started to feel a little overwhelmed and physically ill at the thought of what Brendan would be undergoing the following day. It didn’t help that each person we spoke to looked at us wide eyed and said something to the effect of “Wow…you’re in for a big one!”

After we had seen everyone and sat down for a moment, waiting on some paperwork …I started to fan myself with a pamphlet about knee reconstruction, looked at Brendan and said “I feel quite faint” I was serious! He looked at me and asked if I was going to be OK tomorrow and I assured him Yes, I would be…but I had already decided that I would be booking a taxi to get us there safely and on time, so as not to have to worry about parking or driving or anything else other than my husband, who was about to lose more than the tumour, he was also saying goodbye to the knee and a good part of his femur that had served him well his whole life.

#teambrendanm … unconditional love, support and positivity
We had had a big day and after we grabbed a pizza on King Street for dinner, it was good to be settled into our room at the Ibis. We had pretty much just unpacked when there was a knock at the door, we looked at each other with a “who the bloody hell would that be“ expression and I opened the door to see Adam, the manager standing there smiling…but not saying anything. I said “hello” a little confused, and he motioned to his left with his eyes! Now I was really confused and was thinking “whaat the heck!!” I had no clue what he wanted! And then my big sister Sue stepped into the doorway, now I was dumbfounded and was like “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE!!” Sue was laughing and tilted her head toward the other side of the door and my little sister Deb stepped into view and I lost it, bursting into tears! “We thought you might need us” was all they said. We did!

I had been txting them to say we had made it to Sydney safely-ect… and they were out in reception having their #teambrendanm photo taken.

A sister knows just what to do :)

This was when Bren and I learned how our facebook profiles had gone into overdrive with messages of love and support from our families, friends and even the odd celebrity. Thank you Katie Marteene for starting the #teambrendanm phenomenon, and to all of you guys who jumped on board and ran with it in beautiful, fun and creative ways…you had us laughing , crying and then crying some more. What an amazing thing you have all done for us.

The few hours before bed the night before his operation Brendan spent with you all, surrounded by your positivity and well wishes, I will never be able to explain to you what that did for us, but I will say this…
I have always believed in the power of prayer and positive thought. A single voice is beautiful; a choir is ethereal and a clear request to be heard.  #teambreandanm; what an incredible choir… I am sure it was from your hearts to Gods ears, you were definitely heard.

Losing the Tumour..Tues 16th Sept
Today held one purpose;  get Bren on the operating table, get that tumour out and get him safely back to bed in one piece… so to speak. Now that one piece would contain some nice sizable pieces of titanium, but my husband would be in one gorgeous, strong piece again.

Before the operation could go ahead, a consent form had to be signed. The doctor on duty was reluctant to let Brendan sign it as neither doctor Stalley or is registrar had been over the details of the operation with us. So the duty doctor sent for the registrar. The registrar came in and quickly went over the operation procedure, saying something to the effect of "there is not really a choice here you know". We knew that, there were no second opinions to seek, we were already being treated by the best, and no options to consider… it was have the operation or die, having the registrar go over the details was merely a formality. This was a no brainer lets sign and get on with it.

Now it was simply put the gown on and wait for the orderly to whisk him away, and it was in those last few quite moments that I watched my husband prepare for what was ahead and I have never seen anything more inspirational.

I said “put your game face on Babe”, but he was already one step ahead.
With his feet planted firmly on the floor, shoulders square, elbows resting on his knees, his gaze set intently on the floor, he looked strong and fierce…someone not to be messed with. He then went through a series of systematic motions with his hands, rubbing them together one way and then another…I knew he was going through his tactics, psyching himself up…I’d seen him do similar... many times before, but never before had his life depended on it.
It was truly amazing and a privilege to witness such strength and determination.

I was confident … pfftt 3 hours on the operating table... I had no doubt; he had this!

My husband is without a doubt the epitome of grace under pressure.

Of course the operation went well and Sue and I cheered when he was wheeled back into his room. He was still a little groggy, but lucid, making jokes and smiling. [Deb had gone for a quick trip to Canberra and was back to see him soon after he was brought back to his room] The nurse let us know that Dr Stalley was pleased and had said the operation had gone beautifully… 

7 days later he walked out of the hospital on crutches, in pain but he did it.

That’s step 2, tumour removal, done and dusted! That sucker is finally outta there!!

Thank you #teambrendanm for being there every step of the way :)

More Pics from this week in my Sydney Trip Sept 15 to 23 album! on facebook!


  1. For a little pocket rocket Callie, you are amazingly strong.

    Perfectly written, Ill go now, my eyes are wet.

  2. thank you Meegan, your support of both Brendan and I has left as speechless. We are very blessed by your friendship.