It seems as though Terry may have plateaued with getting any healthier post surgery for stage 4 bladder cancer. It’s been more than four months now, and there just don’t seem to be any changes in his physical condition. No … Continue reading
Haven’t posted for a while, and it seems like there is much happening. The appointment with the surgeon was a little discouraging. For me, anyway. We went in to the appointment thinking Terry had two different, yet potential options. After the conversation with the surgeon it seems clear he really has only one choice, and it’s the one he didn’t want to have to consider.
His dad died of cancer that Terry tells me was colon cancer, but encroached into the colon, as opposed to starting inside. He felt his dad never fully recovered from the surgery to remove his colon and once he had an ostomy bag to deal with it began a slow decline, ending with his death. I’ve heard from Terry prior to his bladder cancer diagnosis that after witnessing what his dad went through he never wanted to have to deal with an ostomy bag. The description of both procedures indicated having the bag is going to be the better option for him.
Once they remove the bladder, prostate, and lymph tissue, they will remove a section of small intestine. If he was going to not have a bag, that tissue would be used to create an artificial bladder, or as they refer to it, a neo-bladder. The downside of that option is that due to the tissue used to function as a reservoir, there is no sensation of urgency, and he would have to empty it every two hours. That means even at night he would have to wake up, get up, and empty the neo-bladder. Not an attractive option for someone who has enough difficulty sleeping as it is.
A second issue is that the tissue from the intestine that would be used for the neo-bladder develops mucus. That mucus could plug up his reservoir, and he would have to perform a self catheterization and he is NOT interested in doing that. For me the bigger issue is the two hour drain schedule for the other option. He will never get his strength back if he cannot rest. Sleeping is a difficult enough proposition for him, so he truly does not need any additional difficulties there by being forced to get up every two hours every day. His surgeon says he will be able to swim and do activities he normally would be able to do with the ostomy.
His chemotherapy treatments are finished. He should have had the last one last week, but once again could not due to blood levels. He was low on several counts, but the white cell count was virtually non-existent. He was at extremely high risk to get an infection, and had to stay away from people and away from public spaces as a result. The benefit to that is it will give him an additional week, and minus a treatment, to start getting his strength back for surgery. It’s going to be a hard surgery on him, and the better shape he’s in when he starts will hopefully mean better shape when he’s finished.
His date for surgery has been set for February 22, which will be here before we know it. Neither of us are looking forward to it, but we are looking forward to it being over. And I’m looking forward to getting the Terry I know back. Treatment has been really tough on him so far, which necessitated missing 2 of his scheduled 8 treatments. He has no color, and his bald head make him look so much older that it’s hard to remember it was just 3 months ago when he still looked like himself. He won’t be the same when it’s all over, but at least he’ll look like himself again. If nothing else, I think it will help us to move on. When he looks like himself he won’t look like he does while he’s sick. It may just be a visual trick, but I’ll take whatever we can get. I just want him here, and healthier. That’s all.