10/5/06 Surgery Plans

Family and Friends,

Gen and I met with my surgeon, Dr. Handy, today. We now have a plan for surgery. Dr. Handy was so impressed with how quickly I recovered from the chemotherapy and how physically active that I have remained, that he moved the surgery to the earliest possible date. I will be having the surgery on October 17th, which is just 12 days away!!!!! It is also my son Matt's birthday, which we didn't want. However, the alternative was to put the surgery off for a full week, and getting the cancer out NOW has to be the priority.

Also, after more research and further discussion with Dr. Handy, I decided on the VATS (minimally invasive) surgery. The average length of stay at the hospital is 5 days, but Dr. Handy suspects I'll be out a little quicker. For one thing, I'm probably 25 years younger than that average patient. (That kind of makes the quick recovery from chemotherapy a little less impressive, doesn't it?) Most patients stay home from work for about 3 weeks after this surgery.

When we met with Dr. Handy we got the results from my repeat CT scan, which was done yesterday. The tumor shrank by about a THIRD. (I forgot to ask if the tumor appeared wrinkled like a prune from all that good energy you all have been sending my way.) On the not-so-bright side, one slightly enlarged lymph node shrunk after chemo, which they tell us means that cancer had spread to that lymph node. That makes my cancer Stage II. However, there is a definite silver lining. Because I did chemo before surgery, we now know that the chemo cocktail they gave me is effective on this specific cancer. If they had not done chemo prior to surgery, Dr. Ross (the oncologist) would have to guess and hope she had the right cocktail. Now we know that doing chemo after surgery will hit the target, and should catch any stray cells wandering around that didn't get picked up on any scans. We will meet with Dr. Ross next Monday to plan how soon/how much chemo I will have after surgery.

That's all the news that's fit to print for today. I'll send a brief update after meeting with Dr. Ross next Monday. After that, my next report will be AFTER the surgery.

Dann and Genevieve