Last Tuesday we met with the gynecologic oncologist (that’s really a mouthful), and as it turns out, he will be my surgeon as well. The bottom line is he thinks the surgery will help, but of course can’t guarantee it. And he thinks the recovery won’t be bad, but again, can’t guarantee that either. The main down side is that it could be more complicated that anticipated, especially since I’ve had previous abdominal surgeries. This might lead to some damage to the digestive system. Of course the odds are slim, but you know they have to tell you all the worst case scenarios. He did say that if he gets “in there,” and it doesn’t look like it would be worth doing, he won’t proceed.
He had several criteria for making the decision, and I think I met all of them. This was sobering – one of them is life expectancy. He asked what my doctors had told me so far – basically, they have chosen not to bring it up and we have chosen not to ask. Of course they’ve told us what the statistics show – I think it’s 2 1/2 year median survival for Stage IV colon cancer. I assume that if things proceed to the point where there are no more options, they would tell me to start doing my bucket list. From an objective viewpoint, if you only have a few months to live, you probably won’t want to spend half that time in surgery and recuperation. But all the doctors are good with proceeding. So, in total, we concluded that won’t be a problem – either based on professional medical opinions or our sheer determination that it won’t be a problem.
So we go back next Wednesday for an Anesthesia Assessment and all kinds of pre-surgery instructions. Surgery is scheduled July 5 at M. D. Anderson, with a 3-5 day hospital stay and 2-3 week recovery. Given the pain that seems to stick around all the time with little relief so far, and other symptoms my onc says are from uncontrolled pain – insomnia, loss of appetite, depression, and a couple of others that slip my mind (maybe one’s memory loss?) – I’m ready to do it.
Hopefully, I can spend the couple of weeks in the interim building up strength, talking and writing about something BESIDES cancer, and building up my reserves of Armitage firepower to withstand the physical onslaught of the next few weeks.
I’m gearing up to work on an Armitage post, hopefully today. I’ve spent far too little time writing and I really miss it. But for now doing a few mindless home tasks, like feeding the hummingbirds. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!