Post-Surgery: Overwhelmed

First things first – THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all your support and love! Flowers, meals, visits, prayers – it’s just been a little overwhelming being on the receiving end of so much support! I can’t begin to tell you much it all means to our little family! I will never again underestimate the power in the simple gift of a meal – it has made our lives so much easier and has taken away one less thing to do. So again, thanks from the bottom of my heart.

I’m recovering well from the big surgery on February 15, 2010 to remove my appendix tumor, as well as a right-hemicolectomy and 21 lymph nodes. Wasn’t expecting that much work. It’s weird to be missing some parts.  But it’s just plumbing and everything works fine. And the tumor is out of me! My goals right now are to recover from the surgery and gain all the weight I’ve lost plus more. Let’s just say I’m on the lean side and leave it at that.

It turns out that I have non-mucinous colonic-type appendiceal adenocarcinoma, a very small subset of a very rare type of cancer. Good news – it is not in my lymph nodes nor has it metastasized from what we can tell.  Since there are so few cases of appendiceal adenocarinoma diagnosed each year (500 – 1000/yr out of the 300+ million US population), it is difficult to conduct clinical studies of any significance that can be extrapolated out to a larger group. That also means that drugs haven’t been developed specifically to treat this cancer because of the small population.  It’s considered an orphan disease and is usually treated with the chemo drugs for colon cancer, a close relative.

This kind of cancer is very difficult to detect until the tumor becomes big enough to cause some discomfort in the lower right abdomen or, worst case, rupture of the appendix which requires a trip to the ER.  My tumor was discovered after I went to see my ob/gyn about pain in my lower right abdomen.  He did an ultrasound which showed a 6.5 cm mass.

I see my surgeon on Monday to confirm that my abdomen is healing well. The following week, I have a visit with my hospital-assigned oncologist to see what’s up and to discuss the road map for my treatment. He initially talked about radiation and then maybe chemotherapy. We still need to put some more pieces of the puzzle together.  Before any treatment can start, I must be completely healed from the surgery.

Thanks in advance for all the offers of future help. I think I will be feeling pretty good prior to the next phase of treatment so I’m looking forward to spending as much time with my girls and Doug as possible before the really hard part begins. My mom is planning to stay and help with the kids.

In the meantime, my spirits are good (most of the time) and I am DETERMINED to do whatever it takes to kick this cancer outta here!

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