Never Say Die…unless.
I know there have been many individuals wanting to hear more about my situation lately (mainly because you’ve said so!) and I apologize for any delay, but before I wrote more about my experience I wanted to gather a little more information that would bring everything up to speed, to keep everyone on the same page and not present this in a way that it very much is not, as if I’m misleading you in some way. See, some discoveries were made during the operation that changed the Doctor’s original plan at killing this cancer, and he had to effectively abort mission in order to prevent “doing more harm than good.” So the short of it is.
I still have cancer.
Two different types actually, both of the appendix, but still confined to the abdominal region.
The long of it follows. The plan for the operation was the “standard” HIPEC procedure, which involved cutting me open, removing/scraping away any tumors, removing the “mucin” (mucus-like cancer cells), then flooding me with 90 minutes of heated chemo, and finally installing 4 ports into my abdomen which would draw the chemo drip in for the coming 4 or so days in the ICU. Well, the doctors cut me open, started removing tumors, but found them significantly harder to remove than any other PMP tumors they had dealt with before, necessitating a much more vigorous approach. Then in removing the tumors they found more in areas of the abdomen (upper) they certainly weren’t expecting, leading them to believe these were behaving a little differently than PMP tumors and demanding a different approach for removal. They simply weren’t going to be able to remove them without getting so vigorous that they risked severe organ damage..and so they backed off. Instead of the 24 hour surgery they were looking at, it was cut to about 9 hours for further assessment. What they needed to do was extract the tumors and send them to a pathologist for deeper study, which will establish the next course of action.
After a few days of impatient waiting, my parents and I met with the doctor, who was quite excited about my current state of recovery. He explained the occurrence during the procedure again and I started following up with questions to get a grasp on what I was facing, which I pretty much understood, but needed to hear directly from him.
“So, this is going to involve chemo treatments down the line now, right?”
– “Yes, we’ll assess you in 3 to 6 weeks to see how you have recovered, make sure you are strong as you can possibly be and then start the treatments.”
“And the treatments will determine how to proceed?”
– “Yes, we need to see if these cancers are going to respond to the chemo treatments. If they do respond and we can shrink them down, we will then perform the HIPEC operation again to go back in and make sure we’ve removed everything possible.”
“Ok, and if the chemo DOESN’T shrink the tumors…if they don’t respond? What does that mean?”
– “Well, if that is the case, there really aren’t any other options for treatment.”
I nodded my head in complete understanding. “Ok….that’s all I really need to know.”
And they soon left after that.
Again, he didn’t say, “You will die”, but that’s what he said.
And so where I hoped at this point I would be slowly beginning my recovery from cancer, figuring out how to best get my life back in order, I’m now faced with not just an extension of this continued trauma, but the very real possibility that I may not HAVE a life that needs to get back in order. Very simply…that.
For now, that is all I can muster to write. Still very much battling the trauma of the operation and necessary recovery procedures, I’m just gonna ride that out for awhile and let it all come as it may. Thank you for being there with me friends. I will now stay in more frequent touch.