Sunday, April 28, 2013

Under the Knife

It's been a little while since my last post, and it's now past the date of meeting with the surgeons at Stanford to see if they'd perform the Whipple. Short version is: no. There's too much tumor involvement with the vascular structures. I also have a duodenal ulcer that formed as a result of the radiation treatment. The ulcer got a bit bigger, and there's still a much narrowed space in the duodenum (because the tumor is pushing on it, thereby restricting the opening), so I've been on a liquid/pureed diet for some time now. I also developed ascites, which are fluids in the peritoneal cavity. There's a chance that the fluid might be carrying cancer cells. Without any shame I can say that I'm praying they aren't.

The good news is that I'm doing bypass surgery (gastrojejunostomy) on Monday at Stanford, that will effectively remove the duodenum from the equation, so I can eat more normal foods, and gain some weight and strength back. They'll also remove the ascites during the procedure and perform cytology on them to see if they're cancerous. The recovery time for the bypass surgery is supposed to be pretty quick (3-5 days), and directly after I'm starting back up with a new chemo regiment.

Other optimistic news is this: if the tumor and ascites (if applicable) responds to the chemo, and the tumor pulls far enough back from the vascular tissues, then the surgeons say that they will be able to perform the Whipple, and remove the tumor.

It's really been a tough time the past few weeks. Doing the liquid diet is amazingly challenging both physically and emotionally. Couple the fact that I suffer from occasional bouts of nausea makes it even harder to keep nutrients in rather than out. I really want this surgery to go well, and recover soon, so I can start back on the chemo, begin eating a greater variety of foods, and ultimately shrink and remove this fucking tumor so I can get back to my life.

This whole process has been harder than I could've ever imagined. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

Ok tomorrow...let's make this a successful surgery that leads into a speedy and smooth recovery.

My most sincere thanks and love to all my family and friends helping me and my family out. I cannot stress how much your support has made this an "easier" time. To my amazing wife: I love you - thank you for being there for me every step of the way. You are my angel and health advocate extraordinaire.