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[cancer] Post-operative followup and what comes next - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-10-01 14:59
Subject: [cancer] Post-operative followup and what comes next
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, cancer, health, personal
Today calendula_witch and I met with the surgical oncologist for a post-operative followup. In summary, everything is fine. In detail...

The lesion that was believed to be a colon cancer metastasis was in fact a "mild steatosis, negative for malignancy". Which is to say a fat deposit with no cancer cells lurking within. We talked about why it presented on the scans as a metastasis, but there's no solid answers to that. I know the surgeon was uncomfortable with having resected what they characterized as a perfectly healthy liver, but there was no real alternative given what we believed at the time. From my perspective, I've traded nine months of chemotherapy and recovery time for four weeks of surgery and post-op recovery.

We talked about the sense of relief I feel, like a reprieve from prison. They were very sympathetic.

The surprise of the day was when I looked at the surgical pathology report and found that my gall bladder had been removed. I don't recall discussing the gall bladder pre-operatively, nor was it mentioned after the fact. the surgical oncologist looked embarrassed and said, "sometimes I forget to tell people that". Apparently this is routine for a liver resectioning. So, no more gall for me.

I have a follow-up CT scan on 10/25, along with an appointment with my medical oncologist that day to put a wrap on this episode and establish my future monitoring plan. I have a final appointment with the surgical oncologist in February to clear me post-operatively.

And that is about it. Now I can go on with my life. At least for a while longer.

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Renfield
User: cuddlycthulhu
Date: 2010-10-01 22:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
So, no more gall for me.

Uh huh *thinks about the tone of some of your commentary on the political links in your morning links post* Riiiiiiight. 8p
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ruralwriter
User: ruralwriter
Date: 2010-10-01 22:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
So, no more gall for me.

The gallbladder must not have been your pun organ.
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adelheid_p
User: adelheid_p
Date: 2010-10-01 22:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Just curious as to why removing the gall bladder is routine for a liver resectioning? I suppose I should probably google this or ask a doctor, though.
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amandapillar
User: amandapillar
Date: 2010-10-01 22:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Your gall bladder is right next door, so to speak. They aren't 'necessary', but do have a function, unlike your appendix. They might take it out because gall bladders can cause lots of nasty problems when they do start to play up (my step dad found that one out the hard way, but he's okay now...two ops, 2 abscesses and a bunch of infected blood later).

Or maybe they wanted to avoid gall stones, which can turn nastier if left alone.
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amandapillar
User: amandapillar
Date: 2010-10-01 22:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Congratulations!

On an aside, I don't have a gall bladder either, anymore. Mine was due to gallstones, though. The problem I've noticed is with fatty foods - if you eat something with a lot of oil or lots of cheese, for example, your body can't digest it properly - sans gall bladder - so the bacteria in your bowel try to do it for you. As a result, you can get a lot of painful wind.

Just so you know - I suddenly thought I'd become lactose intolerant. Turns out it was just the fat in the cheese.
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Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2010-10-02 00:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
>>lots of cheese<<

Oh no! Could this mean the end of cheese parties?? What will jaylake do?!?

Edited at 2010-10-02 12:05 am (UTC)
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amandapillar
User: amandapillar
Date: 2010-10-02 02:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I found it horrifying ;)
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adelheid_p
User: adelheid_p
Date: 2010-10-01 22:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, and congratulations!
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M.K. Hobson
User: mkhobson
Date: 2010-10-01 22:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Gee whiz, how does someone "forget" to tell you they're taking out one of your organs? I mean really. That would utterly piss me off.

But anyway, I'm glad to hear that the good news has been completely confirmed.
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2010-10-01 22:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"I know the surgeon was uncomfortable with having resected what they characterized as a perfectly healthy liver, but there was no real alternative given what we believed at the time."

Considering he also removed your gall bladder without telling you, I don't think I'd be working with him again in the future (although I hope it doesn't come up). Of course he's going to say there was nothing else to do at the time (CYA), but the truth is that this lump did NOT light up on the PET scan--there was good reason to question whether it was a metastasis. I don't know the full story of why he couldn't biopsy it, but it sounds pretty overreactive and ridiculous to me. Nothing for it now. But really--the gall bladder thing? WTF? Informed consent is required by law.
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Danny Adams
User: madwriter
Date: 2010-10-04 22:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
A pity that lack of consent doesn't mean he doesn't have to pay for that part of the procedure.
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Twilight
User: twilight2000
Date: 2010-10-01 23:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
FWIW, I had mine removed (on purpose) about 10b years ago - no change that I or any of my docs can tell :>
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jackwilliambell
User: jackwilliambell
Date: 2010-10-02 00:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I too have no gall. It can make eating highly fatty foods an ... interesting ... experience.

Actually, we do have gall. It's just not controlled. Your doctor may have already told you this, but what we no longer have have is a little bladder that collects gall sent from the liver and squirts large amounts of gall into the upper intestine when certain hormones are released into the bloodstream because there is a lot of fat in your food. The gall then helps to break down the fats so they can be absorbed.

Instead the gall is routed directly into the intestine and kind of does a low-level constant drip. Enough for most foods, but not enough for the really greasy stuff.

At least you will never get gallstones now! I can tell you, with all seriousness, that gallstones can be among the most painful experiences of your life. Worst than post-op pain. I'm told by women who have experienced both that only childbirth beats it out for sheer OMGWHENWILLTHISTOP pain.
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amandapillar
User: amandapillar
Date: 2010-10-02 02:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I don't think the attacks I had were as bad as appendicitus, but they were pretty god awful.
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jackwilliambell
User: jackwilliambell
Date: 2010-10-02 05:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I first knew I had a problem when I stood up after eating a turkey sandwich (with mayonnaise) and was hit by a wave of pain so bad I fainted. No shit. Fell to the floor and everything.

I drove myself to the hospital and found out later that my boss was written up for not making me stay there and wait for an ambulance.
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Leah Cutter: iPod Cthulhu
User: lrcutter
Date: 2010-10-02 01:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:iPod Cthulhu
I'm glad that this episode is "wrapped up" as it were, and that now you can move forward.

::massive hugs::
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madrobins
User: madrobins
Date: 2010-10-02 01:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Going on with your life is, as with the hokey pokey, What It's All About. This is such good news!
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Peter Hollo
User: frogworth
Date: 2010-10-02 02:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Well. That's galling.
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2010-10-02 02:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yay!

Depending upon my errand runs, I might be able to drop off tomatoes tomorrow...
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-10-02 03:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Tomatoes sound marvelous, but note we will be at the Witchnest Manor, not Nuevo Rancho Lake tomorrow. :)
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2010-10-02 14:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'll give you guys a call around 9ish. Witchnest Manor works, a swap for Asian pears would be good.
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User: mmegaera
Date: 2010-10-02 02:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:garden
I don't miss my gall bladder at all. Or the attacks that went along with it (the last of which was bad enough to send me to the ER, where they thought I was having a heart attack at first).

Looking forward to reading about you going on with your life for a few more decades, thanks!
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shaolingrrl
User: shaolingrrl
Date: 2010-10-02 03:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
He took out your gall bladder and *forgot* to tell you? As has been pointed out, that has repercussions for your diet.

And yeah, perspective, but quality of life, too. Man. Piss me off.
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Bibbit
User: bridget_coila
Date: 2010-10-02 06:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yay! Good news...great relief...

...and the gallbladder thing...wtf? not something you'd think they'd forget to mention...

Tho when they handed J the paperwork for my C-section (I was incapacitated and he was authorized to sign all the paperwork for me in emergency situation) one of the pages was permission for sterilization while they were in there- his response "This one is a NO. She would KILL me if I signed that."
Glad he read everything before signing...
I guess it is a normal thing here- women get their C-sec and get sterilized all in one so they never worry about running afoul of the 1-child policy later.

B
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2010-10-02 14:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, and on the gall bladder thing?

I am so, so grateful (knock on wood) that I have not had problems with it. My mother did, and she had pea-sized gallstones. One of my colleagues had hers removed several years ago, and the attacks were horrific enough that she was practically on the floor writhing in pain.
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chris_gerrib
User: chris_gerrib
Date: 2010-10-02 17:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I had my gallbladder out 3 years ago (gallstones, which hurt like hell). No effect on my diet, fatty foods or otherwise.

Actually, I'm reasonably sure I had a couple of gallstone attacks due to what I'd eaten, so for me and for what it's worth, no gallbladder is a plus.
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coreolis
User: curiositist
Date: 2010-10-02 21:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I come into the "WTF????" category for 'I forget to tell people...'. Gah. Let me count the ways that is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Though I don't think anyone will ever claim that Jay Lake doesn't have enough gall... ;) **hug**
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