I'm doing great!
Just to bring you back up to speed, I had 6 weeks of concurrent radiation and chemotherapy down at MD Anderson in Houston. As is pretty standard for Stage III rectal cancer, the steps are as follows:
It's now safe to rejoin...
I'm back to waiting now. Waiting for surgery on Friday, April 24 at 7am. I have to be down in Houston on Monday, April 20 for tests and consultations. I have 2 different surgery consults. The first is with the surgeon who heads my team. The second is with the robotics surgeon who will be operating too. You see, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. According to Dr. RB (my team leader), they've been trying to get him to go robotic for years now and he said he's too old to start that now. There's no difference on long term survivability, he assured me. The surgery just as effective either conventionally or robotically. I think in his mind, that was the end of the discussion. I countered with the indisputable logic that if it's easier on the patient, then why the heck WOULDN'T you do it? I told him, "I'm going to bring you the best, healthiest patient I can possibly bring. What's the best you've got?" Score a direct hit, because we're going robotically. At least that's the plan. If they get in there and need to go conventionally, then they'll open me from breastbone to pubic bone and do the whole thing the traditional way. I should be awhile on the table, so I'll set up Joe to post something afterwards. Check in around 3 or 4 pm.
We'll know afterwards how effective we were at beating TLB into submission, or if we at least left him with significant battle scars. What he suffered will determine which way the surgery goes (robotics or conventional) and if I'll be reconnected or permanently bypassed. Pray that I get hooked back up! This is where the shirt and matching head band come in.
Sidebar: Can we be frank?
I was visiting with a good friend last week, and he mentioned that he and another mutual friend were talking. One of them asked the other, "Did you read ALL the stuff?" which I'm guessing meant, "Dang. She leaves nothing to the imagination." I seriously had to think to myself, "I wonder what I said?" because in my mind, I've left a lot to the imagination.
But they were right; I tend to be very frank. But that has a purpose. The unknown is scary, and there are enough unknowns on this journey. By laying out the facts, I am ripping the veil off the unknown so that I (and anyone else reading this) might feel a little less intimated or scared of rectal cancer or cancer in general. Knowledge is power, for me at least, and a good many others I suspect.
So, it's all here. Well, most of it. And if just 1 person benefits, then I've accomplished something. But if I've skipped something, that's just me trying so show a modicum of consideration for those who might be uncomfortable with the whole, naked picture. However, if you're wondering about something, ASK. I will tell and will be happy to tell. No secrets, no embarrassment, no taboos, no fear. Just ask.
The good thing about procrastinating on posting this (it's been "under construction" for weeks) is that as we've drawn closer to the date, the wait is almost over and my mood is much better. I am R-E-A-D-Y. Yesterday.
I leave Sunday, April 19 for Houston. Joe, Anna and Laura Cate arrive on the morning of April 23 along with my parents. Joe, the girls and my Dad will leave on Sunday, April 26. I'll be in the hospital in for 4-7 days then need to stay in Houston for 7 days after they kick me out. Mom and I will stay together at the Rotary House which is attached to MD Anderson and quite nice. We're sharing a room. Hopefully, Mom will not kill me after fetching for me in a hotel room for a week and we'll return together sometime around May 6 or 8.
Until then, I continue to be the beneficiary of many kind words, prayers, gifts and love. I really and truly am doing well. I don't feel like anything is wrong, which is great, but kind of spooky in a way. I'm walking, running, working (well, what I think will pass for work and keep everyone off my back!), enjoying life and all of the normal stuff. THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH! Now, let's all work together to finish off TLB. To quote Inigo (reread earlier posts if you've forgotten), "Prepare to die."