Here’s what I know after yesterday:
Monday the 12th I will go on the table for a look see. He will take extensive biopsies. If he can remove the entire lesion, he will. The location of the lesion is not precisely where the old tumor was. The biopsies will help determine whether this is a new primary, or a recurrence (though it’s a little unclear what the implication of either is). During this procedure, the surgeon will gather what information he needs in order to proceed with the actual surgery. Like getting measured for a suit..
Monday the 19th I will go back in and be eviscerated. It sounds as though there is less than a snowball’s chance in hell that this can be avoided. The operating room has already been reserved. They will remove my sphincter/rectum and the lower portion of my colon, and re-route the plumbing to the front side of me.. Gross. If you are compelled to feel really sorry for me, you can google up some images of colostomies. They’re super yucky.
I will spend a week in the hospital post surgery. I’m not sure how I’ll manage that. I can’t imagine that the coffee is any good.
When I asked about follow-up chemo, my doc said that there wasn’t likely to be any. Then he told me about the drugs they would use if they DID do any. I don’t feel very reassured. My surgeon will remove lymph nodes while he’s in there. Tons of them. If they find any cancer in the lymph nodes, chemotherapy will be necessary. The sense is, however, that if cancer had spread to the lymph nodes it would have showed up in my blood work, and it has not. That’s good.
Apparently there is a significant risk that I will loose erectile function. hmm. I guess we’ll burn that bridge when we come to it.
This is all happening pretty quickly. Tuesday morning, for all I knew, I was cancer free and the lesion they had seen was nothing but the body’s response to copious amounts of chemo/radiation and surgery. Something that was treatable with some sort of suppository.. (ha!! which sounded pretty distasteful to me. This new version puts THAT in stunning perspective!)
Hill and I are doing well. Maybe it’s shock. I think more likely it’s just reality. We’re surprised again by the calm with which it’s possible to adjust to something when it simply IS. There is very little question that this will be a huge adjustment. (I’m appropriately terrified, to be frank.)