Well, this is it! I met with my surgeon and oncologist on Monday and we have set the date to remove this tumor and a few other parts so that I can return to a relatively normal and healthy life!!! Hot diggity!!!!
Since you’ve been keeping up with this blog you already know many of my feelings about the operation, but only those who really know me also know how much I hate waiting for the inevitable, so I asked that we do it as soon as they felt it was safe. There is a waiting period in any case, to give my liver a chance to clear itself out from the chemo compounds. Instead of a typical 6 week wait we’re going to do it only 4 weeks later. I’m now scheduled to have it done on Monday, March 25.
OMG I have to be at the hospital at 5:20 am! I go under at 7:30. It will take somewhere around 6-8 hours to do the work. I’ll stay in the hospital for around 7 days doing the most serious recovery, to progressively remove various tubes, get back on my feet, begin taking in liquids, and to verify that my reassembled digestive system is beginning to work again.
Then I’ll be back home, and I should expect about a month of further recovery before I’ll probably feel like working again, maybe more if there are complications. We’re getting one of those recliner chairs that will pop me up to standing too, and set that up on the first floor so I don’t have to do so many stairs at first.
Here’s a link to the best info pages on the surgery – https://www.pancan.org/facing-pancreatic-cancer/treatment/treatment-types/surgery/whipple-procedure-pancreaticoduodenectomy/
I’ve reactivated my FMLA coverage, which I set up for the chemo-plus-surgery last year, but hadn’t used yet. I’m also setting up time to hit the gym at least 4-5 times a week during this time before going in, for obvious reasons.
We’re doing a bunch of other preps too, important ones, like mitigating the risks of my <ahem>, not making it through, so we’re hauling out old legal papers, verifying powers of this and that, ensuring that Melissa can navigate my labyrinth of passwords and multi-factor identification hurdles on my key online accounts.
In the longer run I expect it to take quite a few more months to regain something close to normalcy. Mostly reintroducing foods to see what I can and cannot easily digest, letting my pancreas resume its production of digestive enzymes for fats, proteins, and so on. I guess there are fabulously expensive enzyme pills I’ll be using along the way, or perhaps forever. I’ve already begun a faltering effort to break out of the all-American diet high in sugars and fats too. I’ve always tried to eat healthy and now it will simply be painful and potentially embarrassing if I don’t. Oh boy! I should be able to travel before July.
So here we go. I’ll post before I go in too, just for the helluvit.