Topic: Here we go again!

My first CT scans in February, following the resection in August 2006, showed new spots on my liver.  I was referred to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for a PET scan 2 weeks ago (only 1 PET imager in the whole of Scotland!).  Today, I was back in Edinburgh to meet Mr Powell, my surgeon and get the results of the PET Scans.  Well the news was much better than I had feared.  There are 6 spots on the right lobe, the same side that was resected, but no sign of any other cancer sites.  I had convinced myself that it had spread to more sites and surgery would be out of the question.  One word of caution from Mr Powell was that cells could have spread to lymph nodes and would not have been large enough to be picked up on the scan.

Anyway, the plan is that I will be admitted to Edinburgh on Wednesday (28th) with resection surgery on Thursday.  This time Mr Powell plans to remove the whole of the right lobe instead of just a portion of it.  If anything else is found during surgery then it may have to be abandoned.  So, here's hoping!  If everything goes well, I should be in hospital for a week following surgery.

Today we had a discussion about chemotherapy.  The view held in the UK appears to be that chemo following surgery has not been shown to be beneficial and may cause more problems than it resolves.  However, I am looking on it as a "belt and braces" approach and I think, given my history, Mr Powell agrees.  We have agreed that, if surgery is successful and once I have healed, I will be referred to the oncology specialists in Glasgow to look at a course of chemo.

I hope to be able to give you an update soon.

All the best

Ron

Re: Here we go again!

I would just like to wish you all the best Ron. I hope the surgery is sucessful, and that your recovery is swift.

Re: Here we go again!

I am happy to report that I underwent a complete removal of the right lobe on Thursday 29 March.  The scariest part, as far as I was concerned was wakening up to find out what had been done.  Mr Powell explained that he would initially use laparoscopic procedure to see if there was any evidence of spreading.  If there was, then he would just close up and and we would take any further treatment from there.  His first words to me when I woke were that it had not spread and he had removed the lobe.  Recovery was pretty good again and I was released from hospital on Tuesday afternoon.  During the first couple of days I felt a bit rough but I am now getting over that and feeling much better now.  I have an appointment with Mr Powell on 24 April so we can discuss chemotherapy.  I don't know if it will prove to be successful but I do feel that I want to try everything to stop the cancer coming back.  Having surgery the first time was fine and I felt really positive.  The second time was more difficult both physically and emotionally.  Could I go through it a third time?  At this point in time the answer would be no!  I realise that this will sound very selfish to many, particularly those of you who have not been able to have one procedure.  Perhaps my opinion will change with time.

One interesting thing that emerged was that the PET scan is not fool-proof and may very well not pick up cells that have spread to the lymph nodes or are less than one centimetre in size.  I am glad I did not find that out until I  was on my way to theatre!  The second thing is that all the doctors, including my GP, knew I had a hiatus hernia but nobody thought to tell me.  Last but not least, my wife, Margaret, was diagnosed with a large gallstone while I was awaiting the result of my PET Scan.  Life is never boring!

All the best to you all

Ron

Re: Here we go again!

Ron, that's amazing that you tolerated two surgeries well...and got out of hospital rather quickly.  My poor husband, I thought he was going to go insane from post surgical pain after his resection in January.  Glad that you are out and about, and I wish you the best.

Re: Here we go again!

Hi Salsarcat

I have been very lucky with post-operative problems.  Each time, pain relief has been given by epidural, first time for 3 days, second time for 2 days plus 1 day on a morphine pump.  After that it has been plain, old paracetamal.  I just reached a point where I hated being in hospital and was desperate to get out, if only to get a good night's sleep.

How is your husband faring now?  Any follow-up tests or scans yet?

All the best to him

Ron

Re: Here we go again!

Blimey Ron! I am AMAZED at how quick you escaped hospital!! Well done! Sorry to hear about your wife. I believe gallstones are easily treated, if that helps.
So does the hernia affect anything?
I am gobsmacked, I really am, that you are home already!
I hope you continue to do well.

Re: Here we go again!

Thanks for your good wishes Kate.  I think most credit must go to the skill of Jim Powell, my surgeon and the anaesthetics team as well as the care of the nursing staff.  Perhaps being a typical cantankerous Scot also helps a bit!

My main concern regarding Margaret's gallstone is that is what they thought I had before my first diagnosis and I think that is quite common.  She has an appointment with her GP later this week so we should find out how and when it will be treated.

I don't think the hernia has any effect it was just the fact that I had assumed my early bouts of heartburn were the result of gallstones or the cc.  And anyway, they had already given me plenty of bad news so I am sure I could have taken this bit.  See, told you, cantankerous!

All the best

Ron

Re: Here we go again!

Ron Smith wrote:

Hi Salsarcat

I
How is your husband faring now?  Any follow-up tests or scans yet?

All the best to him

Ron

Thanks, he had follow up CT and PET scans a couple of weeks ago that didn't show any new flare ups, although the dr in his usual grim way said "Well, it's only been a couple of months."  That wasn't the surgeon, who is very upbeat.

Tom had an addiction to opiates years ago and has a high tolerance.  Then with the cancer/gallbladder pain he was feeling last fall, he was on morphine but needed a much higher dose than a lot of people.  He told the intake people about this when he went for his pre-surgical appointment.  But he was in surgery so long that the pain meds had started to wear off when he came out from anesthesia.  They kept giving him more, but it took awhile for them to take effect.  He had an epidural plus IV.

He hated the hospital because of the nose and beeping things.  He was on Dilaudid for a day or two.  It worked on the pain, but he hallucinated terribly and got no sleep.  It was quite a week. 

But mercifully his memory of it is starting to fade.  He knows they all did their best to take care of him.

Re: Here we go again!

I like the sound of that, a cantankerous  Scotsman!!:)
Bet the nursing staff don't mess you about though!
Hope all continues to go well.