I had a bit of a disappointing day yesterday.
I went in and met my surgeon for a consult. He, like all the other docs that Alberto has set me up with, is an outstanding guy. I got a very very good feeling from him. He had a young woman third year med student with him, which was a little strange. To be lying there stark naked pulling my knees to my chest, feeling very small, with a wide eyed med student looking on, who frankly looked as though she felt more awkward than me.
The disappointment was mostly just in hearing exactly what I already knew, instead of some outrageous good news.
I was hoping that I would say to the doc, “Hey doc, Alberto says I can’t ride a bike.. it that true? Is he just being over cautious?” and that he would say “Oh that’s just silly.. Go ahead and ride your bike. Your happiness and sanity are of the utmost importance.. I’ll call Alberto and tell him myself”
This is not what happened, of course. Instead, he said “no.. He’s right. You really can’t. And in fact, when the treatments start, it will be quite uncomfortable for you to even sit on a chair, let alone a bike saddle”
The other discouraging affirmation is one that I haven’t really addressed here, but is far more important, I guess.
The tumor is very very close to the anal verge (asshole). Less then a centimeter. It is standard in these cases to do a sphincter amputation. This leaves you, of course, with a permanent colostomy. This possibility has been looming from day one. At first, because the GI doc who did the original colonoscopy was very vague about the tumor’s location in the report, this possibility seemed like just a vague thing to worry about. Every step along the way it has become more apparent that it will be my new reality. A glimmer of hope came with the ultrasound. It indicated that the tumor was pretty shallow.. that it wasn’t penetrating into the muscular wall of the rectum, and that perhaps the radiation and chemotherapy would do enough to shrink it that…
The surgeon put those hopes more or less to rest. He said that we couldn’t be sure until the treatments were done, but that he himself would go with the gold standard.
Oh well. Plenty of people have permanent colostomies.