It was a long week indeed. It’s always amazing to me how going to doctor appointments can wear a person out. I’m sure the emotional part of it takes a toll on the body and then compounded with all of the thoughts equals up to exhaustion. I chose to update through this blog as I feel like there is a lot to say that would not be easy to convey through messenger. I do plan to do most updates on there though.
So….as far as what we now know….
We met with her surgeon who is fantastically blunt and to the point. He did not beat around the bush and told us his honest opinions on the situation. We were basically given three options, which from the outside seems like a good thing. Three options…three choices given as to how to approach this cancer. And while options are good, sometimes the actual options are somewhat scary.
The first option. Do nothing. Let nature take its course. He said she would probably have about a year to live, if taking that route. Option two, try chemo. With that route, he gave her about 2 years. Well shit, let’s cross our fingers and see what’s behind door number three. Surgery. He is confident he can do the surgery, as he has many times. My mom, however, comes with a few sides of complications. Serious complications. She has the hernia which they would have to work around. If they were to even attempt to fix it, there is no muscle let for them to try to attach the mesh to in the abdomen. They woud have to try to attach it to the back muscle. And in doing that surgery, you need it to be clean. Resectioning of a bowel is not a clean surgery. I don’t believe they would even attempt to fix the hernia. At this point, the tumor is the priority. They also found another polyp which is close to the tumor so that will be taken care of at the same time.
She has had a bowel resection in the past for diverticulitis, so now the question is if she has enough large intestine to reconnect to. If not, they would have to connect to the small intestine, which would work, but would also create other issues as far as how digestion goes. I won’t go into the messy details of that. The hope is that when they reconect the intestine that it remains pink and healthy and has good blood flow. They can tell during surgery if it appears that way, but it’s after the fact that things can go wrong. If the intestine dies for whatever reason, it could kill her within a week. There’s no going back when all of those toxins are released into the body.
The next complication is her autoimmune disease, pyoderma gangrenosum (I’ll refer to it as PG). It is a condition that makes it a challenge to heal wounds. We were unaware she had the condition when she had her bowel resection. It ended with deep open wounds, a wound vac, and years of trying to get the wound to close. Literally. I couldn’t tell you how many time I changed her dressings and took her to appointments to try and figure out what the heck was happening. She was finally diagnosed and given treatments to help the healing process, but dang…..it took so long. Literally years. The PG is a big and valid concern.
My mom is also on blood thinners because she had two pulmonary embolisms after her hip replacements She will have to go off ot the blood thinner for surgery, creating a risk for more blood clots to happen.
The surgeon said it wasn’t a matter of if she would have complications, it was a matter of which one she would have. He all but guaranteed that with all that she has going on, outside of the cancer, that there will be complications. She decided in the office that she was going to do the surgery. Her thought process is that she will do what she has to on her part, and the rest is up to god.
He told her that what was going to follow was going to be a hard and challenging road. I feel like we don’t really have a clue as to what that looks like though. I suppose no one does until they go through it. And that is where we are in this curvy, bumpy, uphill road that is cancer. I’m sure I have fogotten things here and there, and maybe even didn’t explain it well. You sit there and listen and try to absorbe everything that’s being said, but sometimes thoughts and emotions get in the way.
Anyway, she was given December 29th as her surgery date. The thing I do feel we are lucky to have is the different teams of doctors who are working together to try and get this right. The communication between them all is impressive, and that’s important. So everyone put on your seatbelts, this is going to be a bumpy ride. Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers and messages. It truly means a lot and brings a ray of sunshine into the times that are dark.