Thursday, April 21, 2011

Off To See The Doctors

Today he went to see his family doctor and then to see his new surgical oncologist.

Surgical oncologist.  Link two of the words you really don't want to hear applied to your own medical problem.

The surgeon was very helpful.  The nodules didn't look like scar tissue to the surgeon.  To him they looked like tumors.   What they are exactly won't be determined until they are out.    He said they were most likely neuro endocrine tumors, NETs.  What we used to call carcinoids.  There, a fancy, new name for my old problem.  If they were NETs, he wouldn't know if they were benign or malignant until they came out.

The surgeon said the operation would begin laproscopically and only proceed to "open everything up" with a big zipper if he couldn't get to the three nodules the CT Scan had exposed.  When asked about using a big zipper and feeling every inch of the small bowel for NETs (the way they were first found in 2000), he said, "The problem was the amount of scaring and adhesion he expected to find.  In 2000, your gut was like freshly cooked spaghetti - slippery, unstuck.  Now, he said, your gut is like spaghetti that has been in the refrigerator for a few days.  It's stuck to itself and to the anti-hernia mesh that was put in place.  I might do more damage trying to take it out and feel it than the good I might accomplish."

Then he said, "If I do it laproscopically you'll be in the hospital about seven days.  If I make a large incision, you'll be in the hospital 10 days to two weeks."

What?  Two weeks!  They send you home in two days after brain surgery these days.  I am really going to be messed up.  He thought about the lengthy time it took to recover in 2000 and his spirits sank.  The reality of his 2000 recovery came back hard and heavy.  Post-surgical depression, incontinence, pain.  He lost twenty pounds during recovery last time because he felt too bad to eat.  And for him that's saying a lot.

The surgeon explained further why you didn't want to leave the nodules to grow and prosper in your body.   Why they really needed to come out.  Now! 

Of course, in medicalese, now, means when they have an opening in their schedule.  He always thought they'd be in a hurry.  But apparently not.  In his case, 'now' means is in a month or so.

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