Topic: What to know before surgery?

Hi all,  we are at the point of needing to make such an important decision-whether or not to go forward with surgical recision of rt side of liver, bile ducts, gall bladder.  My brother is pretty weak-only 118 lbs now (usually he's around 140).  We haven't been given any idea of what stage...doctor said because there's no physical proof yet there's no way to stage.  Doctor doesn't really think surgery is that great an option but is willing to go forward since my brother is only 44.  I'm concerned that quality of life after surgery won't be worth the risk, but if we don't he doesn't have any hope, but might have some quality time left.  How do you make these awful choices? 
Candy

Re: What to know before surgery?

Candy,
Has your brother mentioned anything to you re: to his treatment choices?
I am a great believer in second, third and possibly fourth opinions. Copies of the medical records, CT scans, physician

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: What to know before surgery?

Candy,
Choices are so hard. Surgery is a big step, I know, but it is considered the only chance at a possible "cure" for this cancer.

People's experience with surgery vary widely. I was in the hospital quite a while after mine and then ended up going back in because of complications. I spent about 3 weeks in the hospital in total and it took me about 5-6 months before I felt better, 10 before I felt like I did presurgery. But others get out of the hospital in less than a week and up and running so soon afterwards I wonder what their secret was.

Marions offers great advice. Do get more opinions and question why the doctor is not so keen on surgery.

My personal belief (taken from some one who is only 33) that 44 is WAY TOO YOUNG, more life is ahead not behind, and like I tell my doctor, it is time to be aggressive because we need to.

Kris

Cancer is a word, not a sentence.

36 year old patient with buckets of hope

4 (edited by Ron Smith Sun, 20 Jan 2008 08:16:24)

Re: What to know before surgery?

Candy
The main question to be answered is what is your brother's wish?  If he is not well enough to make that decision then I would worry that he is strong enough to successfully come through the surgery.

I am one of the people Kris referred to since I have had 2 resections and in both cases was out of the hospital 5 or 6 days after surgery.  The first was a partial resection of the right lobe and the gallbladder.  The second was the full removal of the right lobe.  The second surgery itself lasted about 50% longer than the first and I was an extra day in hospital.  However, in both cases I had no obvious symptoms and was really quite fit.  Be in no doubt this is major surgery and recovery time after hospital will be months rather than weeks. 

Ultimately the cancer has returned within months of the surgeries.  Would I go through it again?  Most definately, since it still remains the only real hope of a cure.  However, neither my previous surgeon nor the eminent surgeon who provided a second opinion will consider further surgery or ablation.  They do not think they can remove all of the tumours and so they will not be doing the best for me.  I am therefore a little puzzled that your brother's surgeon is willing to do the surgery but doesn't think it will do any good.

My biggest fear prior to the second surgery was that the surgeon would start the operation, see that things were worse than he had thought, and just close me up again.  I do not know how I would have been able to cope with that.  Now I have accepted (well, 95%) that it is not an option and I can start looking at other treatments.  I find it important to always have new possibilites available; it makes me feel more positive.  Your brother will probably be the same so try to stay positive yourself and be optimistic about other treatments that may be offered.

Ron

Re: What to know before surgery?

thank you all.  my brother is still trying to deal with the blow of doctor's diagnosis, and I've tried to give him as much support as possible but yet let him know what the real options are.  I've told him that surgery isn't seen as a cure, but that I've seen people on these boards who have had significant time after surgery.  I have a number for another top doctor with University Hospitals..Dr Christopher Siegel-anyone heard of him?  Planning to call tomorrow am if my brother wants me to.  Tonight he is back in hospital after having his drain leak all over the place.  We're waiting to see what they do for this and I'm hoping he doesn't have any more complications.  Sounds pretty common from these boards...It sounds to me also from these boards that if a surgeon is willing to proceed with surgery we should say yes if there's any chance that it gives him quality time.  That's the hardest question.