Friday, 2 September 2011

Sept 2nd

We had a bit of drama on Wednesday before my chemo appointment. The short story is that I had a sharp pain in my lower gut on Tuesday and Wednesday. When I told the medical oncology doctors about this they were concerned that my large intestine had been ruptured by the tumour and that I would need emergency surgery to fix this.

This was one of the key concerns when I went on the chemo drug Avastin. It is an effective drug at fighting cancer due to its ability to halt the growth of new small blood vessels. Not sure why but this helps shrink tumours and delivers the other chemo drugs more effectively.

The risk is that being on Avastin extends the recovery from surgery. Basically if I had this surgery I'd stop being a cancer patient for 6 to 8 weeks until I recovered. Then I could go back on chemo but not Avastin. Not good news.

However after getting some 2nd and 3rd level opinions from radiology the doctors changed their minds; just as I was being admitted for emergency surgery. They determined it was not a ruptured wall. It was the same tumour that had changed shapes and shrunk a bit. It was now irritating another muscle that was causing my pain. No need for sugary, just need to adjust my diet. This worked well and the pain is now under control. They also competed the chemo treatment with Avastin as planned on Wednesday.

While I'm glad they were organized enough to pull all of this together in a few hours it was  very stressful for both Tanya and I. At the end of the day you just need to take a deep breath and remember they are only human and in the rush to keep me alive they can sometimes make snap decisions based on partial data. It is so important to keep your head about you even in the most stressful time and ask probing questions to help others make informed decisions.

Today I had the chemo bag removed by a Spectrum nurse (moved on from VON due to scheduling conflicts). I then went out for a good-bye lunch at a great Indian place for the end of term co-ops from RIM (Andrew you will be missed) and slept most of the afternoon. All in all it was a very good day.

TX - Stephen

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OMG Stephen!! I can't imagine the drama! So amazing how quickly the health specialists can change their minds and adapt procedures bases upon pulling together additional information. We are so glad to hear they didn't operatate as this drug Avastin sounds like it will only excellerate the tumour shrinkage.

Thanks so much for the update, considering this all happened on Wednesday, it is great to see that you have recovered enough to share your experience with everyone!

We love you, you are our hero, stay strong!!!

Karen, John and fam