There seems to be two parts to your question, the first about aborted resections and the second about recurrence post resection. My experience regarding the first was that Dr. Selby warned that if he opened me up, and say my liver was "peppered" with sub-1 centimeter lesions (not caught by CT), or my larger lesions had grown markedly since the last CT (which already indicated it was going to be hard to get clean margins), he'd have to close me up. My surgery started at 8:00 am. I woke up in ICU at 12 o'clock...but was it noon (meaning aborted surgery) or midnight? I coudn't ask on a ventilator! Then, from somewhere I heard a nurse say, "We'll be with you all night." It was midnight. With a huge sense of relief, I went back to sleep. So, I suppose that question remains until the surgeon gets eyes on it. That's why often they will do a laproscopic exploration before committing to that long incision for the "open" surgery.
I appreciated that my surgeon was direct with us. His goal was to render me free of visible cancer, which he did with two separate resections. He also said that because of my staging - especially lymph node involvement, recurrence was very likely, and we needed a plan to address it. I did recur one year later, and have undergone multiple treatments to slow progression of the disease as much as possible.
The bottom line though is that 21 months ago I was given 3-6 months to live, and today I am still living with the disease because of surgery. The fact that your physicians think surgery is possible is the best possible news!
Best wishes to you and Gordon. We will be holding you both in our thoughts and prayers on surgery day.