Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Duodenumal Dilemma


2 offices, 5 nurses, 3 hours in a waiting room, countless outdated magazines, and 2 surgeons later. . . .
I am attempting to organize everything we learned today into orderly thoughts while enjoying a beer (Magic Hat # 9, if you must know. Besides my days of being able to consume beer, among other things, is numbered) 
A lot got said today.  Some decisions were made (like where are we going to eat lunch), some pieces of the puzzle got put together, and some things are still left up in the air.  I will attempt to give a brief breakdown of what went on:

1st Visit, Colorectal Surgeon, Dr Kim 
  • He pretty much didn't tell us anything that we didn't already know, except that we can do this procedure laparoscopically.  Which would mean quicker recovery, less pain, less scarring.  Hey, I am all for that.  Dr Kim was concerned w/ me still being able to wear a bikini.  He didn't quite get that I am completely cool with the scars.  These scars are my battle wounds, and I will be proud of them.  He kept saying "Seriously?" 
  • July 22nd is the official date for the first surgery.  Feels so good to have a date now.  No more waiting.  This surgery will last approx. 4 hours.
  • Ave. 4 days recovery in hospital.  1st 2 weeks at home will be the worst.  Pain and extreme fatigue.  Also adjusting to life w/ an ostomy.  There will be a home nurse who will visit daily during this time.
  • After 1 month, will begin to feel better and start to return to normal life.  
  • After 3-4 months,  examine new pouch to see if it is ready to go.
  • After the all clear, schedule the "take down" surgery.  Which will take approx. 2 hours and 3 days recovery in the hospital.
  • Then it is all about adjusting to life with the new pouch.   Average about 8-12 weeks till comfortable.  And then it about a year till returned to normal life.  
2nd visit, Specialized Surgeon
The 2nd office visit was not so cut and dry.  Basically we weighed the pros and cons of going through the surgery to remove the polyps in the duodenum.  It is an invasive major surgery and at this point we have decided to wait.  
While the polyps are quite large (one is 1 inch) and very close to the pancreatic duct.  There is no real rush for this surgery, other than I will already will open and on the table.    No matter which route we choose (operate now or just monitor and possibly operate later)  I will have to be scoped every 6 months (both upper and lower).  At this point we can just monitor them and if they start to change (dsyplasia, growing larger, growing over ducts, blockage) we can do the surgery then.
The duodenum can only handle being cut open so many times and I hate to waste one of those times when it doesn't "have to" happen.  As long as I am vigilant with getting my scoping done there shouldn't be any problems.  

Phew, that was a lot.  Enough of this, I am off to enjoy another Magic Hat.  

10 comments:

Keri said...

That sounds like a lot for you (and your husband) to process. It must really feel great to have a plan and a timeline now though.

Anonymous said...

I have been waiting to hear about your appointments...i must have checked the blog 10 times today. I am glad that you have a date too...so are you going to be up at the cabin alot before the surgery?? Hope to talk to you soon and love you tons..LOve, Jess

Christina said...

Glad the pieces are coming together for you. I admire how brave you are about all of this!

Aunt Paula said...

Stephie - "Magic Hat" maybe that is a good sign! Magic is going to happen for you I just know it! I've never drank magic hat #9 but I must try it. Glad to hear that a date has been set and a plan is now in place. I look forward to reading your blog and being educated about your condition. You will look great in a bikini with your scars just think of them as tatoos.
Love Aunt Paula

Aunt Deb and Family said...

I am glad a date is set. That must be a little relief to know what you are doing and when. I know from my own experience that the waiting is hard too. Keep enjoying the things you like. That you might miss and keep up with your positive attitude. I wonder how many of us are reading your blog at the same time. Reading your blog is in my morning ritual. And I see it is what others do first thing in the morning too.
I heard there is a chance we might get to see you and Scott this weekend. Looking forward to it!
Much love, Aunt Deb

Anonymous said...

Steph: You continue to amaze me. Your talent and humor for composition is outstanding. Your future is definitely bright for writing.

Don't have a magic hat in house but I'll lift a "St. Paulie Girl" for you tonight.

Love you,

Pup

Maribeth said...

I would have never guessed they would be able to do that laparoscopically. That is prety darn amazing.

I'm glad you have a date and a plan. You can focus on your plan of attack, one step at a time.

Heather said...

Steph, I'm glad that things are coming together and you got some answers and idea of what you are facing. Stay strong... we're praying.

Becca said...

Hey, so now I get to 'stalk' you! Enjoy! Anywho, don't know if I ever blogged about it, but last september I had a "ampulectomy" to remove a big ol' fatty polyp in my duodenum. So trust me, I've totally been down that road too. (wanting to avoid a more major 'whipple' and just wanting to avoid more open surgery in general. you know how badly us FAPer's do with open surgery) We knew bout the fatty polyp right when I was first diagnosed, but like you, they said, well...lets just get the more major stuff outta the way first. so I didn't have it done for a year after my colon surgery.
BUT it was just done with a scope. It was slightly more risky than a regular endoscopy, but it meant no open cutting, took bout a half hour, I got to go right home.
Besides the whole vomiting blood thing the next day (that's a story for later) it was one of the more relatively easy things I had done.
Cheers!

Becca said...

Hey, so now I get to 'stalk' you! Enjoy! Anywho, don't know if I ever blogged about it, but last september I had a "ampulectomy" to remove a big ol' fatty polyp in my duodenum. So trust me, I've totally been down that road too. (wanting to avoid a more major 'whipple' and just wanting to avoid more open surgery in general. you know how badly us FAPer's do with open surgery) We knew bout the fatty polyp right when I was first diagnosed, but like you, they said, well...lets just get the more major stuff outta the way first. so I didn't have it done for a year after my colon surgery.
BUT it was just done with a scope. It was slightly more risky than a regular endoscopy, but it meant no open cutting, took bout a half hour, I got to go right home.
Besides the whole vomiting blood thing the next day (that's a story for later) it was one of the more relatively easy things I had done.
Cheers!