It’s been two years (tomorrow) since I had liver cytoreduction surgery (or debulking, as my surgeon doesn’t like to call it)! How time flies when one has cancer! I’m writing this today as I’ll probably forget tomorrow. It’s one of the things I’ve really noticed since my diagnosis: short-term memory loss. It is actually a known symptom of Carcinoid cancer. They don’t, of course, no why.
I still get asked from other NET/Carcinoid patients why I decided to have liver surgery when I knew it wasn’t a “cure”. It’s a long story.
When I was first diagnosed in June of 2012, the surgeon I first saw told me that there was nothing they could do about my liver. I had about 30 tumors scattered throughout all lobes. The biggest was just shy of 4 centimeters. I thought that was that but in researching carcinoid and
all the few treatment options, I read about surgeons that do this type of surgery and they said it’s best to cut as much out as possible. This can re-set the clock and give me more time! That’s all any of us stage IV cancer patients want — more time (and quality, of course). I felt that with this surgery I could be buying an extra ten years!
I was really lucky with my surgery. I didn’t have any major complications. I didn’t even need any blood during or after. When I went in, I wasn’t sure if the surgeon was going to remove my entire right lobe, where most of the bigger tumors were or just cut out the individual tumors. He ended up cutting out about 7, ablating (RFA-radio frequency ablation) some and taking a few “slivers” off of my left lobe. Surgery only took about 4 1/2 hours. I was in ICU for one night. I think my total stay was 5 nights. The only side-effect I had was gastroparesis, where my guts were asleep and I couldn’t eat anything or I’d throw-up (actually, I was throwing up without eating anything). They weren’t sure if it was the pain meds or not but we finally determined my guts just weren’t working. I remember I was pretty sick for two days and then it got better pretty fast once everything woke up!
I had the greatest nurses ever!
This was my second surgery. My first was on July 2, 2012 and I had a right-hemicolectomy. That’s where they removed a portion of my small intestines, ilium, part of my colon and appendix. They would have taken my gallbladder but I had that removed years earlier. I had 10 tumors in my small intestines and my appendix was pretty much all tumor. 11 of 13 lymph nodes were positive for cancer but the pathology report said they thought the number of lymph nodes involved was greater but they only biopsied what they could tell was lymph node tissue.
My three year Cancerversary is quickly approaching. It’s not really something I celebrate but I’m grateful that I’m still here and that things are remaining stable; I feel good and can do everything post cancer that I did before cancer!
Here’s to another 3 (and more)!