Monday, January 27, 2014

A Cancer Story 2.0 - this time with 60% less liver

So, last year, I decided that I would start to put together the story of Mark's diagnosis of Colon Cancer.  I did get a couple of posts up, about the diagnosis and the time leading up to the surgery.  I have the rest of the story in very draft form, ready to be polished and posted.  Somehow, the past couple of months just slid away and I haven't posted them yet.

The short version of it is this:  his surgery was a success, his lymph node bioposy after surgery was clear, no radiation or chemo was prescribed, all's well that ends well.  Well, all was well until it wasn't.

There is now a second part to Mark's cancer story and I'll be sharing it here, as it unfolds, with his permission.  To start us off, I am going to share with you an email we sent to our frie
nds and family 2 weeks ago.

Here we go again...

Hello everyone,

Happy New Year to you.  I hope that you are all warm and dry and healthy!

As many of you know, Mark had a very successful colon cancer surgery during the summer of 2012.  Since that time, he's been very closely monitored by his surgeon (aka "The Amazing Colon Cancer Doctor").  He's been scanned, and scanned and scanned, with particular interest on his liver.

All of this time, we presumed that this was because The Amazing Colon Cancer Doctor had noticed a weird growth on his liver during the colon op.  Turns out, colon cancer metastasis to the liver is very common.  Well, on December 16, at the recommendation of The Amazing Colon Cancer Doctor, Mark had a MRI.  On December 30, we got this weird phone call about his results and Mark needing to make an appointment to see a different surgeon.  It was only really weird to us because we had expected to hear from The Amazing Colon Cancer Doctor if there was anything concerning going on.

Eventually, Mark did speak to The Amazing Colon Cancer Doctor who confirmed that there was in fact a malignant growth on his liver.  Yay, Happy New Year.  Oh wait, no, "boo" - not so happy start to the new year!! Seriously, wft folks?  We really weren’t sure what the new growth meant…was it on the outside of the liver, was it inside, big? small?  Could the cancer have spread beyond the liver? Too many questions and no answers at all.  At least, no answers until we met with the new surgeon.

The new surgeon is a liver guy.  Last week, on Tuesday morning, we met with him.  We were told that the growth is small (as liver growths go) and, from what they can tell from the MRI, had not spread beyond the liver.  It’s a 2.5 mm growth and it’s deep inside his liver.  Because of where it is, Mark will need to have 60% of his liver removed.  From what we’ve read, the right hepatectomy (which is the formal name for the surgery) is a pretty safe operation.  He’ll have a pretty big incision and could be in the hospital for as long as 7 days followed by a few weeks of recovery at home.  Six weeks after the operation, his liver will have regrown (it’s the only organ that does that apparently).  Having said all of that, it’s still a frightening proposition but we’re both starting to adjust to the idea.  Almost certainly, some kind of oncology protocol will be in order after the surgery. Not sure yet what that will look like.

For now, we just wanted to let you all know what was happening.  Mark has a pre-surgery screening appointment this week and it looks like February 11 will be surgery day.  You can expect another update a little closer to his actual surgery and (of course) once he’s in the hospital.

Thanks so much to all of you, for your good thoughts and support when Mark went through his last operation!

Much love,
 Peggy & Mark

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