And so it is written. The date is firm. The surgical team and operating room is booked. My long suffering liver knows its future.
Tomorrow I go into Vancouver General Hospital with a liver that has six cancerous lesions that metastasized from the bowel tumor. Next week I will come out without it. At least without the half that has the lesions.
The liver surgeon says I will be four hours or more on the operating table. Like a giant spongy blood filter, the liver is particularly full of blood vessels each of which needs to be clamped, sutured or cauterized. It’s a lengthy process.
It might grow back. Apparently the liver is the only organ that will regenerate. Dr. Chung says it doesn’t always happen but it certainly can. He says it doesn’t really matter either way. We don’t need nearly as much liver as we are provided with. The important thing is that I certainly don’t need the half that is trying to kill me.
I am, shall we say, apprehensive about this surgery. Far more so than my January colon resection. This somehow seems exponentially more serious and dangerous. Every time they knock me out to cut me open there is a small chance they will kill me. That danger I understand. I have beaten the odds so dramatically thus far that I have a nagging feeling the table is about to turn. Intellectually, I know there is no more risk this time than last. The risk remains at two or three percent. Still, I can’t help feeling that the more times they put me under, the more likely it is that I will fall in that small percentage.
The surgeon told me there is a 20% chance of complete success. I was so pleased to hear that I neglected to ask him what “complete success” really means. I assume it means cured and cancer free. I really would like to know how that other 80% breaks down. What sort of continuum maps the difference between partial success and utter failure?
My failure to ask the questions when I had the chance probably has a lot to do with my apprehension. When I know the odds thoroughly I can prepare myself mentally and emotionally for every outcome. It’s the not knowing that sprouts worry weeds in my cranium, and that’s a fertile patch of grey matter.
Despite my lack of facts, I think I found a way to beat the system. I’ve tipped the odds in my favor by making appointments for after the surgery. I have doctors and lawyers and volunteers that are expecting me. Fate wouldn’t dare take me out of the world while people have me written in their calendars. Clever huh?
Still, it wouldn’t hurt to cross a few fingers for me tomorrow. Send a little good luck my way.