We received some good news from the oncologists Thursday. I will not be needing any chemo or radiation at this time! So relieved!! At Shands they have pow-wow sessions where all of the doctors meet and discuss patient cases. (3 Oncologists, 3 GI specialists, and 2 surgeons that I know of) This is amazing to me. I love how everyone knew everything about me before I even met them. I really can't say enough about how amazing Shands has been.
It was a long day and we met with a lot of people. Phillip and I met with 3 oncologists, a social worker, and a psychologist at the cancer center. Everyone was phenomenal and made me feel like I was in such good hands. They said during my endoscopic ultrasound the GI specialist got really great pictures of the tumor and they said it appears to be completely contained in my colon. It has moved to the muscular wall, however so we need to get this thing out soon. Luckily they did not see anything in my lymph nodes or in any other surrounding organs! They think surgery as soon as possible will do the trick and that radiation may be over doing it at the moment. However if any more cancer is found in surrounding areas during the first surgery, my procedures will go from 2 surgeries broken into 3 so I can have radiation if I need it.
This is my schedule at the moment:
October 12th - My Pre-Op appointment with my surgeon. Everything will be explained on how I have to prep for my 1st surgery.
October 24th - Surgery # 1: This will be a tough one. I will be in the hospital for 7-10 days depending on how I heal. I will have a total colectomy because of the tumor and because of my colitis. If I do not get my entire colon removed it's not a question of IF cancer will pop up somewhere else in my colon, but WHEN. Better to get it all taken out now so I never have to go through this again. During this surgery they will create the JPouch.
If they do see cancer elsewhere: they will wait to make the Jpouch, just do a colectomy and I will have to go through chemo and radiation then. (it would be split it in to 3 surgeries then)
If no additional cancer is found: If all looks good my surgeon can make the pouch and I will be on my way to healing. While I heal I will have to wear a colostomy bag until my last surgery unfortunately.
I will have to be out of work for 6-8 weeks to heal from this first surgery. Hopefully I will heal faster and can be fairly normal before then. I will still be wearing the colostomy bag at this time.
After 3 months: (If all goes well) Takedown surgery #2 . In the hospital for 3-5 days. I will have the colostomy bag removed (finally!) and then my small intestine can be hooked back up to the Jpouch that was made. It will be healed and ready to start functioning by then. Hopefully this will be done sometime in February (if I do not have to have chemo)
6-8 weeks of healing time again for this surgery. Even though the surgery will be easier, this will be a tough time because I will have to learn how to eat foods again _get my plumbing moving so to speak. I will start with a liquid diet, move to soft foods, then eventually normal foods. It will be a lot of trial and error and I will be sick for quite a while until I can figure what foods will and will not work for me. The good thing is after the takedown surgery I will no longer have to wear a bag because of the pouch that was created using my small intestine. It is amazing how they can do this!
Over the next year my JPouch will continue to improve. Bowel movements may start out around 20 per day immediately after the surgery. (No fun at all) However, over the course of the year it will go down to 4-5 (I hear that is as good as it gets)
Meanwhile I am feeling great and doing well. Phillip, Elise and I are enjoying this gorgeous fall weather we are having right now. I am eating everything I want right now because I know in a couple of weeks I won't be able to! (We made chocolate cake the other day) I'm also doing a lot of things like riding my bike (my mom got Elise a little trailer to hook to the back of my bike) and enjoying working in the yard. I know I won't be able to do some of those things I love for a little while and I am just trying to enjoy myself before I go in for surgery.