Dr. Sheppard, a chief surgeon at OHSU, operated on my dad last night from 9:30 to 11:30. I spoke with him at 11:45 PM. The surgery was more successful than we’d hoped, and Dr. Sheppard, who has performed these procedures many times, believes that if all goes well further operations will be unnecessary. (Note however that this is not the same thing as saying, “All is well.”)

They removed 2/3rds of Dad’s pancreas and the entirety of his gall bladder. He now has drains in place to remove bad fluids which might have built up otherwise, and they connected in a tube to provide nutrition to his stomach or intestines (I forget which) so that they don’t have to feed him through a less optimal manner.

All of this relatively good news is, of course, tempered by the fact that acute pancreatitis which results in necrosis (death of tissue) has a very high mortality rate (meaning north of 50 percent). There are many complications which could still arise—the most serious would likely being stroke or major heart attack—so we’re not even close to out of the woods yet, and no one is willing to offer a long-term prognosis since it is essentially unknowable. As untenable as it may be, all we can do is wait and see.

Be that as it may, we remain thankful for the successful surgery and for the support we continue to receive from friends.