The ureter on my left side was being constricted by a mass that looked like cancer on the PET scan and the CT scan. It also looked like I would have to have a colostomy bag (again...) but this time permanently due to the mass looking like it was connected to my large intestine. That was some heartbreaking shit right there. Did all that recovery for the reversal of my last colostomy and it looked like it was going to be for naught. I was pretty upset about that.
So the plan was to have Dr. Ong do a mid-line incision (vertical) that would almost look like a c-section. He would then poke around and see what needed to be done about the large intestine bit of it all. Dr. Chapman would be right next to him and would take over for the kidney part of it. Either removal of the kidney or resection of the ureter. Dr. Precht would step in if I had to have my kidney transplanted down near my bladder. That is called auto-transplant. This would occur if they had to snip out the part of the ureter that was being constricted (and damaged by that constriction) and the remaining length wasn't long enough to reattach to itself. You want two kidneys for chemotherapy.
April 3rd finally rolled around. I spent the two prior days absolutely miserable doing bowel prep. Some of you have had colonoscopies. You know the drill. Imagine that for two days...the vomiting started on the second day. I think my electrolytes were thrown off. Lord, I was miserable.
Got up at 0430 and took the pre-surgical shower. Basically bathing in anti-bacterial soap for 10 minutes. Arrived at the hospital and started the check-in procedure. IV started and then Dr. Ong walks in with a marker in his hand. "We are going to draw on your belly where your new colostomy is going to go. Where is your belt-line? We don't want this too low..." That is when it got real. You think about the surgery and life after. You dread it. You get anxious about it. Then you just want it to happen. I met all the doctors at my bedside. We all talked about what we were going to do that morning. "Exploratory laparotomy with new colostomy and possible kidney removal or auto-transplant" I repeated back to them. How in the hell did I get here...
|Pre-op. Getting ready to go in.|
Showtime! They give me some medicine and I remember asking Dr. Ong to please make my surgical incision to look like a shark bite. Much cooler to take the shirt off at a pool and say "Yeah. That's right...shark attack!" And I was out.
I was basically screwed. Except the biopsy came back negative. Another call to Dr. Gold. "Do more biopsies..." Twenty total biopsies. No cancer. From devastated to elated. The thing that was trapping my ureter? Not cancerous. Not only that, they were able to get the ureter out of the mass and when it popped out of the constriction, it immediately plumped up and started to get blood flow. No need for a resection or a transplant!!
Dr. Gold came into my room and called me his miracle patient!
|All tubes pulled!!|
|Still swollen belly. That incision goes down another three inches...|
Renal stent gets pulled in the next 4 weeks or so. I also go back to my normal 6 month CT scan schedule and do watchful waiting.
Not sure if I live a charmed life but it isn't dull...