The surgery went well. We were prepared for them to find that the cancer had spread badly enough that they would need to do an abdominal opening after they got the uterus out through the vagina (precisely as horrible as it sounds, I imagine).
They did find that the cancer had invaded the walls of the cervix, and that it was trying to get into the walls of the uterus (though it's not clear whether the large mass that got into the uterine wall was actually cancer or just some sort of fibroid cyst).
Also, the uterus had grown to larger than one normally finds in a woman who has never had children. Instead of the size of a medium avocado, it was the size of an extra-large California avocado, apparently.
Still, they managed to extract it. The ovaries were not in evidence, having gone into hiding, shy as they were. So, they didn't get removed.
Because they would have had to do the abdominal surgery with her standing on her head, and there were issues with her weight and the amount of pressure the anaesthesiologist was having to use to keep her breathing (asthma) ... they decided that as the outer walls of the uterus showed no visible cancerousness, they would simply let the radiation treatments handle the rest of things. So they sewed things up and put her back on the mobile bed and wheeled her (talkative but not awake) to Recovery.
Apparently we will learn from the pathologist just how much had gone on, and how bad it was, in about five to seven days.
So, she was in surgery by 1PM and out by 3:30PM, and an hour or so later, we were in the room for a mass wakening and so forth.
Ken Dorsch, our Rector, showed up to do the healing prayer and anointing before her surgery, at 10:45, and then took off to be present at a meeting at the Bishops' Close (funding) while Bryant Carlson, the handsome and far too young assistant priest, assisted Father Bert Allen (retired, retired, retired, retired, in service, retired, in service) with the funeral service for Penny's first Stephen Ministry Care Receiver, who died on Saturday, one supposes in order to be able to intercede for her more closely.
My mother and grandmother, our friends Brad and Linda, and my mom's cousin Marcella (who happens to live in Beaverton) were all sitting vigil with me in the waiting area, as we tried to teach Brad how to play Pinochle. A woman from St. Barts named Mary popped by (she works at the hospital) and gave her best wishes before I could
figure out who she was, and then left, carefully hiding her nametag.
And our friend Janet Wehlitz (also from St. Barts) came by the room afterwards, with a 'happy hospital care package' including easily removed stickers, posters, decorations, and such that she'd made up on their computer. She's spent a LOT of time lately dealing with hospitals, so she's got this down pat.
Anyway. Penny is in room 853 at St. Vincent's Hospital in Beaverton.
She'll be out either tomorrow or the next day, depending on how healing and pain goes.
Thank you for your prayers and thoughts. Now we just need to get her mobile again. And... I keep getting phone calls from friends, family, and well-wishers.