2nd Opinion Finally Arrived - The Verdict Is In - VATS
I hope everyone had a nice holiday.
Since before joining the board on June 9th, I've been waiting for the doctors at UTSW to review my medical history for a 2nd opinion and come back with their opinion and what they think the next course of action should be.
And the verdict is...VATS.
The definition of this procedure is Video-Assisted Thorascopic Surgery. I'll be meeting with a Thorasic surgeon this Thursday to discuss my case and what the procedure will entail, although being my own advocate, I've already researched it and am familiar with the technique and what will happen to me.
It's possible that it might be a laprascopic procedure, but I've never been lucky enough to get any lap procedures - mine have all been open procedures. I'm going to hope that I get lucky this time. The premise of the procedure is to make the incisions on the right side of my chest, deflate my lung, and scope in towards the Pleura so they can at least get a sample of the tissue and/or remove the nodule spots in question. They may have to use a rib spreader to move the organs around some. It might start off as a lap and switch to an open during surgery, but nobody really knows that until they go in - things happen - things can change. From there, we hope to be able to biopsy the tissue to determine if it is a tumor. It's been growing and recent PET scans revealed "uptake" activity to the spot, so all indications are that it is. But this should settle that once and for all, so I'm prepping myself and getting my mind right as we speak.
Quick history for those who do not know me. I started with colorectal cancer, which metastasized to my liver, and now has metastasized to the PLEURA of my lung, where I now have 2 spots in question. The Pleura is a 2-layer membrane that surrounds both of our lungs. This is in a bad place for a tumor to be.
The new oncologist told me it does not look "OPERABLE" which is always disconcerting to me, because we all like to remove the tumor(s). I want to get a better understanding of whether it is operable or not when I meet with the chest surgeon.
Chemotherapy will be re-introduced but as to which drugs and regimen to follow are still TBD. I've got a big concern here, because the Oxy, Xeloda, and Avastin did a big number on my immune system and has compromised it greatly. It destroyed my ability to produce PLATELETS in the manner that is necessary to even be given chemo.
When I was coming out of chemo 7-8 months ago, there was a new drug that the FDA just approved - NPLATE. This drug "boosts" platelet counts but as always, when you force the body to produce more than it is capable of on its own, then pain & side effects will follow. I've researched Nplate and it does have its side effects. I may have no choice but to take it and live with it in order to boost my platelets so that the chemo can knock them down, if I want to continue to live. I'm not looking forward to this again. This "stuff" just never seems to end.
I'll know more after Thursday and can post back with what I found out. In reading many of your cases, it appears that I'm the only one with tumor(s) on the Pleura of the lung - I've read where some of you have it in the lung itself. I sort of wish mine were in the lung, because then we might be able to do a wedge resection and get to it. In the pleura, as I said above, it may or not be operable - chemo may be the only weapon available to me and who knows how long that will last - alot of collateral damage has already been done treating my liver with the chemo.
I worry sometime that me may run "out of bullets" and have nothing left, but all I can do is just keep moving my feet forward and take each day as it is given to me. I keep my head up, my spirits high, and my dignity intact. I meet each surgery or treatment head on and have never run away from a fight - and fight for my Life, I must do.
I will continue to try and help people any way that I can and use my Life as an example of what Cancer CANNOT do to any of US. I will post on the board when I am able and share, laugh, and cry with you as we all continue on our journeys towards Wellness.
I find myself thinking about each of you and your stories as I go to bed each night. A month ago, I did not know any of you, and now I know several of you and hope to talk with many more as the time goes by. I hope I've been able to provide some insight on the board and I sincerely care about each of you and am praying for terrific outcomes for each of you. Hearing some of the success stories on the board continues to give me hope and some strength to carry on until I can finally meet NED - I hear he's a pretty good fellow to know.
I've been riding this "CRAZY COLON TRAIN" too long and we're at the 3rd stop:
Colon / Liver / Lung / I need to get off of here, before we get to the next stop - the Brain.
I'm new to the Board BUT not new to Cancer - I'm beginning my 6th year of this fight, which puts me in some pretty good company out there.
All my best to each of you and may God bless all of us.
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