ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Sat Nov-19-11 10:44 AM
I'm back now - and thank you all very much again. (warning - horrible photo attached)
This is sort of a personal post; a thanks to all those who wished me well and offered up their thoughts and prayers to me about a week ago when I announced I would be gone for a while because of a medical issue I am having. So really don't expect it to be of much interest to a lot of people and to those who continue to read I want you to understand that as a general statement I'm not the most likable guy you're ever going to run across. Don't get me wrong, I think I'm the nicest guy in the world but there are lots of other folks who think, and maybe deservatively so, pretty much an asshole. I thank them for their thoughts and prayers too.
Now the long version.
I don't believe in prayer at all, but something dam sure worked. I'm not kidding one single bit about this. We walked into a very bad medical situation last week. It was life threatening, immediate, unavoidable. Learned and experienced experts agreed that the set of procedures I was about to undergo might be the end of me. No one was giving me much better than a 50/50 chance of being alive last monday night. The very short version of what I was facing is this. I had developed a tumor growing from the inside of the large vein that returns blood from bottom of the body to the heart. A long section of the vein - which is a little larger in diameter than a typical garden hose - would have to be removed and replaced. A great deal of blood loss was expected and preparations for transfusion had been made. The tumor had grown through of the wall of the vein, extended out to engulf my right Kidney and all of its plumbing. From there it brew down below and around my stomach but more importantly involving my Pancreas and the ductwork from it and my gallbladder to my intestines, which was going to have to be removed and rebuilt.
To do this work I was fortunate to enlist the talents of two of the most capable Surgeons in the country and their staffs. Their skills were going to be tested, and both of them were completely honest about it to me before we began.
As I said earlier this last act in the program began last friday when we (my wife and I) went to the Cleveland Clinic for the last round of testing before the surgery. As bad luck would have it all of the results of the day's testing were not available by the end of the day. The Surgeons could see that the mass had grown, but the quality of the imagery was not such that they could tell with clarity how much or where. Never the less by this time it was clear to all that the right Kidney would be lost and an extremely difficult second procedure was going to be required. We were braced for that news, we had been expecting it all along; it was on our plate as they wheeled me into the room and the universe went dark. The dual-surgery was scheduled for 265 minutes.
Eight hours after the surgery was begun, with all those thoughts and prayers ricocheting around the universe, I was wheeled out of the operating room and into the ICU. A few hours later they moved me to the recovery facilities.
Here is what I can only ascribe to your work on my behalf. When they rolled me into the recovery area I still had both of my kidneys, my entire pancreas, the super-scary procedure to reattach ductwork long ago destroyed proved unnecessary (the second surgical team was dismissed and went on home at the half-way point). The entire tumor was removed, not a speck of it to be found anywhere but in the dump on this fine day, and not a single drop of anyone elses blood was required to accomplish all this.
In short not only had everything gone well, in fact virtually every aspect of this operation went far far better than could have possibly been expected, but that entire portions of it became unnecessary and at its conclusion I am (aside from hellacious pain and discomfort) like the flick of a light from on to off, I am "cancer-free". They got it all, it was all cut away. No chemo is planned, no radiation, no nothing. All I have to do is heal up and get on with my life. We'll be watching my gut like a hawk for the next couple of years, but for now regular checkups are all that is in the plan.
My god, I can not thank you all enough.
And now the very very morbid part. I was not much for wanting to the the gory details of the operation but I had never seen a cancer tumor. I had sort of a picture in my mind of what it might look like but I really didn't know. I sort of mentioned this in passing during a conversation with my main doctor and he asked me if I wanted to see pictures after the operation. What? They could do that? "Sure" he said. So he took a dozen or so photos during the operating including a couple of the tumor all by itself just sitting on the table. I am going to post that picture below. If you want to see what a potentially man-killing tumor looks like you've found your page. Its right below. I'm going to put in enough blank spaces that no one should stumble across this by accident - it it a very ugly thing, just looking at it may make you ill, but if you ever wanted to see one here it.