My mom, 70 years old, had her big surgery yesterday and the news was not good. They did not remove the tumor as we expected. The tumor (thought to be moslty only bile duct until the surgery) is in the gallbladder (100%), liver (50%), duodenum and a few lymph nodes. The biggest problem is it is also around an artery and that is why the surgeon did not do a whipple. He said that it would have shortened her life considerably. He would not do a whipple unless he was able to take out all of the cancer. We are all reeling from this. They did a laproscopy first and did not see the extent of the tumor and all of the tests she had did not show it either. When were told that the surgery advanced to the open procedure, we were very optimistic of the outcome because they told us that if first procedure showed a lot of growth...there would not be an open procedure. They did do a bile duct bypass and another from the duodenum to her stomache so she will be relieved of some of her worst symptoms and can not need the stent she had. She has been loosing weight at an accelerated rate almost 10 pounds a week.
I am the first from a brood of 8. My sister and I have been doing all of the footwork to get her help once we found out there was a problem. I called a family council in the hospital yesterday. The nurse in the recovery area let us all have a few minutes with mom, 2 at a time, and I think that seeing all of us in one place had to be the best medicine for her---we are NOT the Waltons so this was a very rare occurrence. Afterwards I told the siblings who were not there for the doctors conference with us post-surgery the status of her tumor. Those of us who were there did not want them to hear this news on the phone.
She is going to be told about the tumor later on today. The surgeon is going to tell her what was done We are going to be there when the surgeon visits with her...and she will be given information as she asks about it.
So I am here looking for Gemzar information and I guess a little support. Too late for us to see the cindys miracle surgeon. BTW Our surgeon is Dr Jeff Drebin, formerly of Johns Hopkins and chief of gastric surgery at University of Pennsylvania hospital.