St. George seeks his dragon

Sometime in its history, St. Paul’s Hospital removed all of the catholic saints from the hallway alcoves. Wendy thought we should put one back. Unfortunately the result was more mortific that beatific. At the very least, my Saint George impersonation ought to have been holding a sword, or maybe just a scalpel considering the dragon I seek to slay.

The visit with Dr. Carl Brown was a bit sobering but relatively positive. He had reviewed the MRI results and was concerned about the location and shape of the main tumor he is after. I seems somewhat larger than expected but he says it has probably shrunk some since the MRI because the radiation treatments would still be working for a couple weeks after the scan. It’s shape looks like it extends backwards towards, but hopefully not into, the bone.

He remains confident that he can get it all out in one operation. We’ve got one shot at this. He can’t employ any of his fancy new laparoscopic procedures because it is just too big. So we go old-school on this sucker and open me up like a book to get at it. He thinks he’ll only need to take about a foot of colon and some surrounding tissue, so I figure that leaves about four feet to do the job that the colon does. Surely I was designed with an extra foot or two of large intestine. And four fifths has got to be better than three fifths, right? Right.

His biggest concern is that the tumor is dangerously close to the exit point and saving bowel function might not be possible. He estimates a 50/50 chance that I will spend the rest of my life wearing a bag on my abdomen. What it all comes down to is that if he can’t save the one I have, he is going to literally cut me a new one. I sure hope my luck holds for that coin flip.

There is really no difficult decision here. He was clear about that. The choices are, live with whatever results the surgery brings or wait for the cancer to kill me. I choose the option that includes living; It’s better for my health.

His staff are still trying to fit me in later this month or sometime in February. In the meantime, I wait and try to stay relatively healthy.

On the positive side, I know, because I’ve been sitting on it, that there has been a lot of change in there since the MRI. So hopefully it will all be better than he expects.

I did find out that I can get copies of all of the various scans and tests. Dr. Brown even recommended that I keep copies with me so any doctor I see can access them. I’ll ask for those when I go in for the follow-up appointment with the radiation oncologist this afternoon. If I can make any sense of the images, I will post before and after pics.

So, we all know mine. What is YOUR goal for the New Year?


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