I had a thorough abdominal ultrasound scan on Monday morning. Having slept for about four hours (aided by Baileys) and many tears, I woke up feeling rotten and not looking much better. Umpa drove, thankfully because I don't think I'd have hit a single right gear, but possibly some pedestrians or other cars! No old ladies waiting today and though we managed to arrive early I was seen pretty quickly. The scan took a lot longer than I thought. I laid on my back and both sides so she could check every organ, spending most time on my lower right ribcage (still sore from Friday nights gym class) where my liver was.
I sort of expected a phone call because Dr Tom had made a point of getting the scan booked so they could discuss me at the MDT meeting that afternoon. Still I had my appointment with Mr A, the surgeon today so it wasn't much longer to wait.
I slept a little better, probably because I had TWO large Baileys this time. Also I'd spoken to Aunty Susan and even though she made me cry a teeny bit, by telling me I don't have to be brave all the time, at least not for her, it helped. A cuddle would have helped more, but I had the teddy she bought me when she came to visit (Umpa has one too, we always get the same, it saves arguments). He's as fluffy as Skittles but doesn't wriggle or keep me awake with his loud, contented purring.
I like going to the Bostonian, there's no messing about trying to find a disabled parking space - there are even less now because of some "work" being done! True to stereotype the "work" men were stood around talking when we arrived. It was proper brass monkey's weather so I'd have expected some movement just to keep warm.....other than their jaws.
The couple who went in before us had a cancer diagnosis, I'm sure. Evidence being - conversation between secretary and nurse fetching cup of water "How are they?" "Not good, very sad". I could hear crying when I went through, at which point the couple hadn't left so I think they were in a side room talking it through. There was the telltale diagram, drawn by Mr A to demonstrate the site of tumour and surgery, a nurse whipped it away, saying "oh that was a previous patient", I just looked at it and said "deja vu".
Poor Mr A, not knowing about the scan results (namely because I don't think the sonographer's report was available for the MDT meting so I wasn't discussed as intended) was surprised that I was looking a little worried I think. He read the CT report, then the incredibly short ultrasound scan which just confirmed there was "something" (insert several large words here that even I haven't been able to commit to memory and google) on my liver. That was it. It just said "yep, you were right with the CT". Mr A said it was stupid! He asked the nurse to make sure I was on next Monday's MDT list to be discussed - but he's not unduly worried. I panicked at this point and said...........but surgery is planned for Friday..........? I think that's when the penny dropped that as Oncology were rushing to get the scans done before surgery I was expecting it to be cancelled. No chance, he said, it's two separate things, he'll do the operation and the rest can be dealt with later. Jeez, talk about RELIEF!
I'm not even worrying about the scans now, my main concern was that my path has been, not set in stone, but pretty tightly set out and any deviation just depresses me. I think it's the lack of control that cancer is so good at creating. That the cancer might be back, or even if, as hoped, it's just damage caused by the chemotherapy (Dr Tom's thought) was like cancer saying "Haha, I'm still in control, you thought it was all over".
He attempted a rigid sigmoidoscope again but (and I checked to see how loud I was) I "OW"d a lot and he asked if I'd rather he used an endoscope when I was on the operating table and unconscious instead (um YES PLEASE MR A!) to make a final check of the join. I know some people have a barium enema and x-ray to check the join but he likes to see with his eyes, I think. It's been 9 months, so I guess if it hasn't healed now it never will. Not ALL the staples came out anyway, I only remember seeing about half a dozen or so (gulp).
Mr A went over the risks and possible complications: bleeding; leaking (peritonitis); having to open up the full 10 inch scar again; blockages etc. Then I signed the consent form, hopefully the last of many in the last year or so. I've signed a consent form for the 7 weeks continuous chemo, another for the 5 weeks radiation, one for surgery, another for the last lot of chemo and now the final operation.
He'll be cutting around the stoma where little PTW sticks out and then (I gasped at this point) they chop PTW off and throw him away!!! He'll then join up the two ends, shove it all inside and stitch me up.
I said: "Oh, the poor thing"
Mr A (laughing): "Have you become quite attached to it?"
Me (patting PTW): "He's worked really hard for 9 months, I swear at him when he misbehaves, but it seems such a shame"
Mr A: "Would you like him in a little pot to keep?"
Me: "Yes please! I've still got my wisdom teeth in a pot and my best friend was allowed to take her tonsils home (admittedly we were about 14 at the time)."
I'm pretty sure he thought I was joking. I wasn't.
When Umpa told my nephew, he said "But doesn't aunty Lisa NEED that bit?" He was also most impressed by the fact, not that I'll not need to glue a bag to my belly every day or so and empty it a zillion times a day, but that I shall, once more be able to FART! I wasn't aware it was a regular habit of mine, but then realised, he's a boy, it's their favourite pastime!
Mr A tried to make us both cry again too. He said all his patients are special, but I am most special. I am his youngest bowel cancer patient! Therefore he is sure everything will be fine.
I told him he can do what he likes when he opens me up because I've got a small windfall coming from a share payout soon. He said he likes to hear his patients are rich. PMSL!
So for now, I'm just excited about the surgery and this last step. If the blips on my liver turn out to be anything else, that's another chapter. As Angela Wan Kenobi once said "I refuse to get excited about it until I know it's really a problem."
I'm working on various options for keeping you all updated whilst I'm in on an IV crash diet of essential fluids for the best part of a week. It will most likely include a laptop, a memory stick and Umpalumpa (told you she was like a Swiss army knife!).