Wow! I pray you are able to recover the files and photos!
Bummer! Shall we send you a picture disk?
AHHHH! My husband who has recovered many hard drives for friends and family (as well as at work) says to put it in the freezer ASAP! If you want some help, contact me and I can put you in touch with my husband.
Ayayayayay...! I hope the surgery has a positive outcome... I'm still saving up for professional data recovery of a dead external HD that has irreplaceable scans of old family photos (and some of my business records) trapped on it... I hope you (and hangers-on like me) can get to see those photos soon!