Well, could I have picked a wetter day to go to the doctors? I guess it could be worse... it could be snowing. But it's not cold enough for that, so instead we get a day of rain non-stop.
I had an appt. with Dr. Fay (GP) at 11:45am. He wanted to see if the weekend made any difference and if he could take out the remaining staples that were holding the incision together. This is the part of the incision that is taking it's time healing. He looked at them and said, "Nope, they are not ready to come out". He then said he wanted to refer me back to Dr. Brown (surgeon) to see what he has to say. If he says the staples should come out, then he would probably have to arrange for home care nursing to come to pack the wound, then change the packing/dressing daily. So he called Dr. Brown's office, told them he had me in his office and that I would need to see Dr. Brown regarding the incision. Lo and behold, although it is usually a couple of weeks to get an appt., they arranged that I was to come in today at 2:15pm. Great... except I didn't want to hang around the hospital for a couple of hours before my appt (since I was already at Dr. Fay's office which is across the street from the hospital). So I took the bus home... then took the bus back when it was time to see Dr. Brown. I did ask Dr. Fay if my getting out to walk the dog, or walk home from his office or the hospital might be hindering the healing process and ne said, "No... walking is good and if anything, will help the healing process. So I am allowed (and encouraged) to walk... just be careful not to tire myself out."
Soooo, in the afternoon, I caught the bus back up Davie Street and went to the hospital since Dr. Brown's office is in the hospital. First, one of his nurse's took the dressing off the incision and cleaned it. Then, Dr. Brown and one of his associates came in to take a look at it. He agreed that it seems to be taking it's time healing, but there is no sign of infection. So he wants us to keep the staples in for another two weeks to give it more time. If there is any change or I have problems with it, then I'm to get in touch with him/his office immediately, but for now, we will keep the staples in for another 2 weeks. I can then go back to Dr. Fay and he can take the staples out, unless at that time he feels they aren't ready to come out. This is what they mean by "you have wound issues"
As for the pains I still get in my left side, my far right side and my lower back, Dr. Brown has said that that is to be expected and these pains could be around for a few months, although they should lessen in intensity as time goes on. Ok... that makes me feel better. If this is common and to be expected then I don't have to worry about them :)
After the nurse put a new dressing on the incision and I got dressed, Dr. Brown came back into the room to go over some of the pathology and what is next in the plan. He explained that he was very happy with how the surgery went and that I am looking wonderful... way better than he expected for this time after the surgery. He said that the results are the absolute best that we could have hoped for and, in all honesty, he thought they were going to be a lot worse.
Because the mass/tumour had perforated the wall of the intestine, he was most concerned that the cancer could have spread and we would have a lot more problems. But, it looks like the tumour was contained and may have spread somewhat into the abscess that was created when the tumour perforated the wall of the intestine. Because of this abscess, I did end up with peritonitis where the infection spread to the tissue of the abdomen (which is why I was in constant pain since September... it was the peritonitis that was causing the pain)... and it was because of this infection that they had me on IV antibiotics for the 2 1/2 weeks before the surgery.
So, going over the surgery, he said they took out about a foot of intestine, which included the tumour, the abscess, and 17 lymph nodes. Pre-surgery, he had said they would probably take out about 12 lymph nodes, but they ended up taking out 17 of them. Of the 17 lymph nodes, 1 of them came back as cancerous, the other 16 came back clear. This is good, although, because 1 of them has cancer, it does mean some of the cancer cells have spread from the tumour... so this automatically means that the followup treatment will be chemo, and possible radiation. They have no way of knowing how many cells have escaped, or if the only ones are the ones in this one lymph node... so they will be zapping me with the hopes of catching any strays in my system.
The kind of cancer and/or radiation treatment they use will be up to the oncologists at the BC Cancer Agency. For this kind of cancer, Dr. Brown says that the chemo treatment has come a LONG WAY in the last 10 years... meaning that it has become better than every at catching any stray cells.
So, he says the referral has been made to the Cancer Agency and I should be hearing from them in the next week or so. He says if I haven't heard from them by the end of next week, then I'm to call his (Dr. Brown's) office and they'll get in touch with them. He does not want this to linger and the sooner we start, then the sooner it will be over. He said that the consultation visit, which will be my first visit with the oncologists, will be a lengthy one and that they will go over all kinds of information about the treatment, how long, what to expect, etc. I asked if it would be a good idea for me to take a friend with me to take notes and be a second pair of ears and he highly recommended this, so that's what we will do.
Soooo... I guess that is pretty much it. It's still very positive and with all your good thoughts, continue positive thinking, and prayers, I believe that I will get through this Chemo/Radiation journey with flying colours :)
I don't have any new pictures to put up at the moment... but I will get the camera taking pictures again soon. In the meantime, I want to thank Chet from San Diego for the gorgeous basket of plants, including my favourite - violets - and a very cute teddy bear! Also, thank you Jim, Cori and Cocoa Maedel from just around the corner from my place for the beautiful flower arrangement.. that even included the beautiful Bird of Paradise!
Ok... I better go feed the furry diva before she starts yodelling that I'm neglecting her :) But I'll be baaaaack!