Now that we have a reliable internet connection again, here is the full update.
Last night we stayed in Calgary, at a hotel near the hospital and the cancer center. Needless to say it wasn't the most restful sleep; we've been both dreading and anticipating meeting with the experts there, so sleep proved elusive.
We got there first thing in the morning, and didn't have long to wait. We were soon shown into an examination room and met one of the doctors there that will be assisting. They always seem to start with the same question -- "So what do you know?" which tends to send me into mental fits. But, as Chris put it, they want to make sure what information you have and which they will still have to cover.
They were very happy to get my CT scan and the rest of my records, as we'd brought a copy of all of them along. We HAD sent them a copy by courier last week, and it was signed for at the center, but it was nowhere to be found. We found that having a copy of all tests/ records on hand was invaluable, as it cut down significantly on time; with the full information at hand they were able to get down to business.
After meeting me, examining me and getting to see the CT scan (finally!) she proceeded to tell us all about the surgery ( the famous MOAS). She was very patient in answering all the questions we had ( we'd brought two pages, neatly typed... just in case we might forget something) and in trying to explain the risks involved vs. the benefits.
In a nutshell, mine is the aggressive adenocarcinoma type, BUT its low grade... that means that although its actively spreading there is also time to tackle it, and with the operation and HIPEC there is a chance I'll be around in 10 years. And hey, in those 10 years, what other treatments might there be? Some people are cancer free at the 10 year mark, so I'm REALLY hoping for that one. The statistics of survival without the surgery are fairly scary, so hearing that I WAS a good candidate for it was amazing.
The dr. brought in doctor T., who was very straightforward but also really reassuring. Within the next week we should know what the surgery date is, and the actually surgery should take place in about 4-6 weeks. Why the wait? Well, they have a HUGE team of people that all have to be present during the entire thing, and the average for this type of surgery is of about 12 + hours. Additionally, since I had surgery at RCH not that long ago they need to wait long enough that the internal adhesions have healed; this will give me better chances of success all around.
The surgery is major; there's a minor risk of morbidity , and a 10% risk that they might get in there, find that it has contaminated organs that are vital and cannot be removed... in which case they'd have to close me back up and do nothing. BUT, as stated, I have been pretty good about beating the odds in the past... this better be one too! :_)
It looks like surgery will -likely- be in late May, early June; organs WILL have to be removed, but they are in theory all non-essential ones. The idea being that they will carve out all the cancer they can, add in the chemo soup to get rid of any rogue cancer cells left. THe CT scan often doesn't show the extent of the disease, so they will only know for sure the ones that need to come out once I"m on the table. The ones that we know will have to be out: ovary, uterus, spleen, part of colon, omentum, gallbladder, peritoneum(?) .
The ones that they think might possibly also be affected and if so have to come out are : More of the colon ( on the other side?), diaphragm, parts of stomach and bowels. The jello is around my liver too, but we're hoping that the liver isn't involved at all.
So, as anticipated, I will definitely be feeling more like a jack-o-lantern than I had before.
We discussed pain options as I'm in a fair amount of pain, talked about preparation for the surgery in terms of nutrition, issues with nausea and so on. Oh, and (yay) I will also have to go through a colonoscopy before the surgery ( so in the next few weeks) to make sure there are no surprises there, and a series of vaccinations as my spleen will be removed.
Hospital recovery time he estimates will be about 6 weeks after the surgery ( given what he saw on the CT scan), barring any complications. Looks like I will be getting to experience a full Calgary summer!
After there's a likelihood I will have to go through 3-4 months of chemotherapy, but that will be back in BC.
So a lot of information, and much to digest -- but I'm glad we went in informed and ready to sign up for the MOAS. Now we wait for the actual date, and try our best to prepare...