I have just ( finally!) got the complete report from the chest CT I did two weeks ago, and it is clear,as Prof. Shpitz thought. This is really good news, and gives me a lot of hope of beating this thing. Now I just need to get it cut out, chemo the hell out of any cells left floating around and hope for the best.
The operation is the next big thing, and the biggest issue is that I will have a temporary ileostomy when I wake up. This doesn't worry me in the least, since I have seen loads of them and know how to take care of it. For Oren it is a bit more difficult, but I am gradually educating him, showing him pictures of ileostomies and talking about it, and he is getting used to the idea. I want to avoid waking up after the operation and having him go, " What on earth is THAT thing?!!!" I most likely won't be in the best state for explaining calmly and reasonably at that point.
Although it is only temporary it will be quite a while, probably six months or more. The reason I need an ileostomy is because during chemotherapy the danger of sepsis from small leaks in the operation site is deadly, because the immune system is depressed. The area of the operation has had radiotherapy and is not healthy normal tissue anyway, so just taking the tumour out and sewing the ends together isn't a good option, although some surgeons do do it, depending on what they see during the operation. I prefer the safe option, I have no intention of getting rid of cancer and dying of sepsis!
There are quite a few sites giving advice on ileostomies on the web, and looking through them I found some hilarious advice. One site recommends buying a swimsuit 'with a matching pattern to hide the bag' . What, with little baggie prints all over? Hum, is there a real one in there somewhere? Another says that rugby is best avoided. Damn, I was planning on making the team this year! One site gives advice on foods best avoided and manages to recommend cutting out all of the major food groups.
One thing which has me completely in shock is the new theory put forward by James Watson, one of the scientists who discovered DNA. It seems that antioxidants, for instance vitamins and lycopenes among others, actually harm cancer patients. The cancer grabs the vitamins and uses them to protect itself, so that radiotherapy and chemotherapy have much less effect. The cancer can also become metastasized earlier. When I looked for support for this theory I found that many oncologists in the US have been quietly telling their patients for a while not to take vitamin supplements. It has been known for several years that supplements of vitamin E in particular actually shorten the average life span- now we know why. I am very glad that I haven't taken any vitamins, and even went and chucked out some enriched milk from the fridge! Now I check all the food wrappers in the supermarket to make sure there are no added vitamins in anything. No escape that way, f*****g tumour! You're surrounded, come out with your polyps in the air!
I'm not going to complain about my bum today, because it is so sore I don't want to think about it. The nurse took a look last visit and then opened the 'special cupboard', the one you only get to look inside during the last bit of radiotherapy, and gave me so many creams and gels I could open a sore bum shop. Oh well, only two more sessions and then a big long bum rest.