RJ: My surgery detailed
I had my colon cancer surgery in December 2013. It was not easy at all, it is a terrible experience. But I managed to win it over!
After the preliminary diagnosis, colonoscopy and imaging examinations that confirmed the existence of a tumor of approx. 5.90 inches (15 cm) on the left side of my colon, I was facing the burden of choosing a doctor that could perform the colon cancer surgery.
After a thorough analysis on the options I had, we decided to go for a professor specialized in gastrointestinal surgery and liver transplants.
The first meeting and discussion on the subject of diagnosis with the professor took place at the end of November 2013. I was still under the impact of thinking it might be cancer and I had a high-level of anxiety, something told me that everything would go ok.
The consultation ended with the recommendation that on December 5, 2013 (the day before my birthday) to get hospitalized. Thus I had a few more days and I honesty say that the wait is even more difficult than anything that I have passed through.
For almost a week we went through all possible states of mind: from anxiety and thoughts of death to joy triggered by the positive result of the pre-surgery biopsy. Later on, the biopsy result turned out to be misleading but at that moment, it helped me relieve negative thinking.
I was glad that these days allowed me to spend a few days with my little boy who at that time was 1 year and 9 months old.
A real helper during this time was my family and praying. I was not a religious guy but in such situations, you try everything. Looking back, I now believe that faith has been among the most important pillars during my healing journey, especially in critical moments.
On December 5, I presented myself to the hospital admission. Between 5th and 10th of December I ran all kinds of tests: blood, markers, electrocardiogram, lungs radiography etc.
Finally on the 10th of December I was told that the very next day I will go through surgery. Until 5 PM I had to drink some nasty substance that had the role to empty my digestive system and later that evening to do some enemas.
The first step the next morning was a discussion with the anesthetist doctor. I responded to a general questionnaire with data about my medical history, weight, height, blood group, and more. I then went back to the salon and I was given a pill whose purpose, I understood later, was anesthetic. The last thing I remember before total anesthesia and colon cancer surgery is that a resident, who was nice to encourage me, fitted a branch to my hand and started to connect me to machines on the surgery table.
From what I later learned the colon cancer surgery procedure lasted more than 4 hours during which I was extirpated most of the intestinal thick, spleen and part of the pancreas tail. The medical name of the operation was: subtotal colectomy in block with spleen-pancreatomy corporeal-caudal with ileo-sigmoid anastomosis manual.
I woke up from anesthesia to intensive care having a nasogastric feeder along with many other “holes” in the abdomen area through which the drains were connected to different organs. The most unpleasant feeling was the fact that I could not feel my mouth anymore. Nothing else seemed worse than this.
My parents and wife visited me shortly and they told me I even talked to them. Personally, I do not remember anything about this moment. The night was a nightmare for me, unable to sleep at all due to the probes, but mostly because I was forbidden to drink water. It is horrible to go through a colon cancer surgery, that is sure!
The next day doctors were running around me, checking the monitors. I was physically and mentally exhausted as the body was doing a tremendous effort to regenerate. I think I slept until 16 o’clock. By the evening they decided to move me to my stationary reserve. But my body was not helping me at all. Somehow, helped by my dad and brancardiere, we managed to do it.
Recovery has been difficult, with surgeons recommending me to start moving even from the next day to help resume intestinal transit. At night I had to have permanent help because I had dippers.
A real success in those difficult moments was the words I was saying to myself, encouraging me to move, to hydrate myself, to be able to overcome this difficult moment. I started to hope that if I can restore my emotional balance, healing will be easier.
Unfortunately, on December 20, the result of the histopathological examination would hit me hard: it was a stage IIIc cancer that is very advanced!
Then I fell into anxiety after studying the statistics that gave me 5-10% chances. I imagined myself accommodating into the tomb, my kid raised by others, and other grim scenarios that at that moment seemed to me realistic.