By ice rivers
So I have a flat polyp on my colon. It could not be removed during the colonoscopy. My gastroentologist suspected cancer. He sent me to a surgeon. The gastro guy made the surgery sound like a walk in the park. The surgeon was much more circumspect. He wanted to describe to me as fully as he could the risks and benefits of the surgery. The decision about the incision would be mine.
Before the surgeon began his description, I asked him if I could take a video of what he was about to say.
Lynn was surprised that I would make such a bold request. I figured that if there was ever an appropriate time to request a video with our ever present camera, it would be when a surgeon was describing to a patient the "procedure" under contemplation.
I had just met this surgeon five minutes befoe making my request. I knew the sterotype of surgeons...arrogant technicians with rude manners. I asked anyway, after all I was considering putting my internal workings in the hands of this man or the robot hand he would be navigating into the mysteries of my inner foldings.
The surgeon imediately said "Sure you can." and began his illustration using a lapsized white board and black marker to illustrate what he was trying to describe.
He did a terrific job; friendly, informative, down to earth. We had excellent eye contact throughout the description. I began to undestand my own colon. I had growing confidence in the surgeon. Of course going into my meeting with the surgeon, I had the usual"reports", that this surgeon was excellent. I dosregarded those reports as every report I've ever heard about every surgeon that ever operated on anybody was supposedly "excellent". Is anybody going to use to use a surgeon who is reported to be "pretty good" or "meh" or "cromulent".
My immediate reaction was "beautiful, let's get this thing done."
Somewhere during the description however I began to suspect that inner going was something much more serious than the gastro doc had led me to believe. Although my polyp had been discovered and tattoed, it was still impossible to locate its exact hang out/cling on. Some polyps hang out in a mushroom shape. mushroom shaped polyps are common and easy to remove during routine colonoscopy. The head of the mushroom is snipped off. My polyp is flat; cllingin on rather tha hanging out. Only 9% of polyps are flat cling ons rather than mushroom hang outs. Flat polyps are much more likely to become cancerous. They are more difficult to locate and more compicated to remove, thus the ooportunity for surgery. Part of the surgery is zooming around inside simply trying to find old flat top. The zooming has a phyical and physiological price.
The surgeon told me that I would be in the hospital for a couple of days after the surgery and immediately placed on a liquid diet. My diet would remain restricted for two weeks after the surgery.
This was definitely not a quick in and out.
I enquired about pain management. The surgeon told me pain management wasn't the main problem.
What's the main problem?
The main problem according to the surgeon was exhaustion; an exhaustion that lingered for 4-6 weeks.
I've already had radiation for prostate cancer. They told me at the time that I would be fatigued. Shit, fatigue wojuld be no problem.
Then I had fatigue for a long time more like months than weeks. There's the usual kind of fatigue when you're sick and tired of doing this shit and you're gonna take a break from it all....and then there's radiation, recovery fatigue...it's like passing out as compared to yawning, blacking out as compared to sleeping. I'm not a fan of fatigue and "exhaustion" sounds even worse.
Plus, nobody was sure if my flat polyp was cancerous or not as they were unable to biopsy told flat top during the colonoscopy. The proposed surgery would be the exact same surgery I would have if the polyp were indeed cancerous but nobody knew for sure. This mystery introduced another problem. What if they did the surgery and found out that the polyp wasn't cancerous after all. I'd still have the pain, the hospitization and the exhaustion?
Cured from what I'm not suffering from and suffering from the non cure.
Now some doctors would have urged the surge, my surgeon said the choice was mine. He pointed out the almost perfect balance between the pro and the con. He told us to think about what we want to do. We'd talk in a couple of weeks.
In the meantime, I'm walking around in dilemma/paradox. The paradox is that I almost wish that I definitely had cancer because I could get that removed. It's a weird thing to be rooting for your own cancer. Once again, we are faced with the usual/ unusual paradox contradiction.
The dilemma is nobody knows for sure and nobody will know the conditon of my condition until we "just" drop in with the robot hand and find out.