I was referred by the Oncologist to see a "Colo-rectal" surgeon. My tumor was deep-seated in the pelvic area, being attached to the rectum. At the time of initial diagnosis the tumor was the size of a small tissue box. It was putting pressure on part of the bowel, therefore creating the symptoms of constipation. It was uncertain as to whether the tumor had any involvement with the bladder. The Colo-rectal surgeon decided to refer us to a "Urologist" for his opinion too.
During both consultations, we were reminded yet again of just how rare and "ugly" this Disease was.
It was decided that both the Colo-rectal surgeon and the urologist would perform the procedure together. Due to the length of time the operation would take, it was necessary for a theatre to booked out entirely for the day just for my case.
Unfortunately due to the position of the tumour I knew that the surgery was going to be MAJOR and the possiblity of many side affects had been bought to my attention. The most significant side affect was the possiblity of having a permanent colostomy bag for both bowel and perhaps the bladder. Needless to say I was very scared, but knew deep down if I wanted a chance to survive I had to go ahead.
On the 18th August 2004 it was time for the surgery to take place. As you can imagaine the emotions that ran with this were completely overwhelming. I felt as if I'd lost total control of my life. My life was now in the hands of "someone else". Christine continued to be with me every step of the way. She was at my bedside until they took me to theatre. I was so anxious and scared at this point I didn't know what to do. Christine waited at the hospital all day with both my Mom and her Mum. I left Christine at approx 11:30am. I didn't get back to the ward until 11:30pm that evening.
I am told the operation itself took approx 7 hours and I was in recovery for 4 hours. The Colo-rectal surgeon spoke to Christine after the operation. He told her that the operation was a success and they were able to remove ALL the tumor. He also admitted that half way through the operation they were about to give up, as it was incredibly difficult to get to the tumor. But once they did get to it - it came away easily. As a result of the surgery I had a temporary Ilieostomy which would later be reversed.
Christine still laughs at some of the things that were mentioned soon after theatre. She has great delight in telling people some stories. Soon after my return to bed and I was able to see Christine and the two Mums - I apparently announced that I felt like a "gutted fish". My mum said "Well now you know what a fish feels like" and I apparently responded with "yeah! but at least the fish is dead when you get to it".
Over the next two weeks I was to recover in hospital and then left to recuperate at home for a further 4 weeks.
After recovery time I was then to have a Tandem Stem Cell Transplant. We are still trying to piece together all the relevant information. It will be posted as a seperate page when completed.
Stem Cell Transplant