Surgery is never fun but once done it seems much more tolerable than anticipating the process. I hope to never repeat my 36 hours purge and fast, even though my superstitious mind sees the process as core to me having an easier surgery then was ever imagined.
My famous surgeon who has bludgeoned us with more truth then we have ever requested this past year, usually repeated in 20 minute monologues, seems suddenly delighted. My current theory is that he so loves saving women’s lives (his reputation) that his churlish attitude towards me represented his resentment that his skills could not master my situation. And to cope he needed to re-explain that reality. Now he seems to be stalking me with cheer although he has made no future oriented pronouncements and we all know that my diagnosis stays the same. (I am not curable. I never was curable. But many incurable, terminally ill people live a long time. I would like to be one of them.)
I am home, happy and feel like I was in one hell of a bar room brawl. I do wish that I could share the great bruising pattern that even descends my upper thighs – just what were they doing in that operating room!?!
Despite bruises and lacerations, I am clearly in good shape for the scheduled return to chemo today. It is low dose taxol/avistan, weekly, and considered easy to tolerate.
I am not a big fan of my last year – I appreciate having had the year but I would rather not redo my approach to it. I never imagined being a chemo failure and thus was so ‘shocked’ by each spiral of bad news. I feel like I am starting over. I approach this next year knowing I may never leave treatment, that the quality of my life can be high while in treatment and it is time to end the suspended animation of this past year. I love life and I can love it while in treatment. What’s more, I intend to more fully live it while in treatment.
Regarding the surgical findings. The extracted tumor is at UPenn being tested for cell volume as I type. I will know how it is rated for vaccine use in the next few weeks. Other tumor material is off to the Clearity Foundation where they will assay it in dozens of ways to see what treatment approaches might best match the current profile of my cancer. (Cancer mutates constantly.) Next steps with UPenn stay complicated and externally dictated. It is a longer shot than we would like that I will get in to one of the dozen slots but we are making the best effort possible. Regardless, I wont be starting there until my current course of chemo is well underway e.g. winter.
My biggest fear counting down to surgery was what would be revealed when they went inside. We all know some one diagnosed so late that surgery is cancelled shortly after starting because “There is too much.” The surgeon found my smaller tumors in the omentum had combined into one 10 cm mass that was easy to remove. He could see his intended target far back in my body, seeming the same walnut size as the ct scan had communicated. He was happy to not need to take on the risks of removing it as it sat intricately wrapped around the colon.
Less cancer is always good news especially when your official tool is chemo. The surgeon could see that I was filled with microscopic disease. And, of course, I continue to have cancer in the lung but given my growing disease volume the decision to both do surgery and the results of surgery are positive.
Courtesy on this extended support community (YOU!) I feel quite ready for this next phase of the journey. xo