Mar 30, 2004 - 4:49 am
A few weeks ago I posted a message here about my upcoming right hemicolictomy and what to expect. I was told by both my family and gastroentologist doctors this was my only option to preemptively remove the adenoma that contained high-grade dysplasia cells and possible any cancer cells that could be discover during this surgery.
This adenoma was recently discovered through my very first colonoscopy. I received many encouraging responses from members who had experienced this surgery and I am grateful to all who replied, since I was understandably concerned and had no knowledge of what to expect. I was asked to update my status after surgery. This is it.
Though 56 years old, I exercised regularly, ate fairly well, limited my red meat intake, and had no outward symptoms of anything being wrong. I was not even sure I needed a colonoscopy.
But my father had a cancerous infected colon section removed 6 years earlier. He was 89 at the time and now, at 95, seemed to have completely recovered. I did not really feel I had anything to fear. But I did have my first cousin Fred die about 12 years ago at age 52 from colon cancer. I knew I had to ease my mind and have this unpopular and evasive procedure.
To my dismay and surprise the dysplasia was discovered and the only options presented to me were to have the surgery or play craps and wait to have another colonoscopy in three months to see if they could remove the rest of the polyp. Since this was a downward growing polyp and the chances of completely removing this growth through a colonoscopy was basically slim to none, I was told the first option was really my only option. I told the doc I had to sleep on this one.
Going home, the first thing I did was go online and began doing my own research. After googling the Internet for a while and reading all these thesis and medical reports, from what I could understand I did have no other choice except for which doctor to use. This took me about a week to decide.
One week ago today, I had the laproscopically assisted procedure. Any of you who have had this surgery can emphasize to what I felt like when I awoke from this surgery. Though medication helped, there was much pain. Plus the lingering thought of exactly what was removed and what the pathologist was going to find. I was given no assurances going in as to what would be found and what would be removed.
The first thing I did notice when I awoke was that I had no spigot; this was a relief in itself. But I had not talked to the doc yet and was still in high anxiety. I had to wait until the next day to find out exactly was removed.
The next day, Wednesday, I had my spirits lifted. The doc found no surprises nor additional polyps. So far so good. I was told they removed the end of my small colon and a section of my ascending colon for a total of 18 inches. They removed the lymph nodes that attach to the ascending colon, which is normal procedure. I was assured I had plenty of lymph nodes left and no worries about my immune system. Now the wait for the pathologists report.
Of course I still had the pain and would not pass any gas for two more days. But surprisingly, I was getting up daily for my walks and the pain was subsiding some.
48 hours after surgery I experienced the most pain, especially since my attending nurse withheld my pain medication for almost 4 hours after my first request for more. I went nearly 7 hours between medications only 48 hours after surgery. I do not know what this nurse was thinking. When he finally came in to administer the medication, the syringe seemed to have more volume then the other times and I fell asleep in about two minutes after injection, but the pain did go away. This was the only time I gave my pain a rating of 10 when asked for the level I was experiencing. This was Thursday and I still had not heard back from the pathologist.
The next day I finally passed gas. It was not much, but it was a sweet feeling. I would now begin the process of eliminating the excess gas that had been building up in my colon. By the end of the day I was removed from IV pain medication, began oral pain medication, and started my clear diet. I got to eat some broth and a Popsicle. The doc told me I was doing very well, considering what I had gone through. I could most likely go home the next day. But still no pathologists report.
Saturday morning arrived and I eagerly awaited my doctor to come and let me know if I could go home. A little after noon he arrived and gave me two very good bits of information. One, I was able to go home that day and second and more importantly to me, the pathologist report came back and all tissues came back negative for cancer. I almost cried. Tuesday morning I was having a foot and a half of my colon removed and by Saturday noon I was going home, cancer free.
I know I am still not over this. I have to add more fruits and vegetables to my diet and continue to get yearly colonoscopies. But unlike many who have walked in my shoes and had any colon removed, my next step is not chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment, but lifestyle changes and of course my savior, the yearly colonscopy.
I am so lucky. A colonoscopy and early detection was my savior.