Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Medical stuff

I'm going to try to update this blog with some medical information for those who will go through this procedure in the future. Below is a summary of the information Dr. Fournier told my family immediately after the surgery, 1/8/10, and my reactions:
1) Relatively lucky, in that I didn't have much disease in there as compared to others. My disease was caught very early on. So many people aren't diagnosed, or are misdiagnosed, and that obviously makes the surgery more difficult later on. I'm obviously relieved, but take nothing for granted. PMP is unpredictable, I'm not going to let my guard down, but also try not to obsess over it.
2) Gallbladder was removed. It was very distended, I might have had trouble with it later so the doctor just took it out.
3) He took out the omentum- the fatty lining of the peritoneal cavity that hangs like a splindly drape over your internal organs. Like the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Sneaky disease likes to hide in it.
4) He peeled and scraped some disease off of the liver. The liver is fine, looks good now.
5) All the work on the right side of my abdomen left a small hole in the diaphragm, no problem - he stitched it up.
6) Because of 3, 4 and 5 he decided to put in a chest tube during the procedure. He says that sometime patients develop fluid in the lungs after the surgery from so much manipulation of the diaphram. It is terribly uncomfortable to have a chest tube put in after surgery so best to get it during surgery. He says it is a good thing that he did because it immediately drained 0.5 liter. It has still been draining! Be sure to ask your doctor their plans on that.
7) Took out about 12 inches of my small intestine, as well as the cecum and the right colon. This should not affect bowel function.
8) He saw some disease in the pelvic area and removed it.
9) Spleen was fine, the doctor left it in. Spleen recovers quickly and says suck it gallbladder.
10) At this time, "no disease left" and "complete cytoreduction," which are great words. That means that the chemo has the best chance to work now, killing any remaining disease at the cellular level.
11) After surgery I had like 7 tubes/lines running out of me: a few IV lines, chest tube, G tube to relieve pressure in stomach, J tube for feeding nutrients directly into small intestine, epidural (amazing pain blocker), and Foley catheter. J tube will be around for perhaps a few months. I look like the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

More on the chemo later.

"I Forgot How Big..."
T.P. Eck
Lego and mixed media
Part of the Ole C. Eck Collection

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Location:Bertner Ave,Houston,United States


Rachel said...

Well, Spaghetti Monster, WOW. That's all I can say. But Wow in a good way. I am so happy for you that they caught this early.
Hope recovery is going well, and that you have been able to drink some Deeee-lish broth. (Hopefully something a little better than that)
Thanks for keeping us updated.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dan

Thank you for the update! I will post more boring questions on the message board for you!

I had two chest tubes too. Soon they will be out and you will lose all the coolness that comes with having stuff hanging out of your rib cage :)

keep taking pictures of this sci fi moment in your life! They make for really good laughs later!

wishing you all the best,

Anonymous said...

Wow...awesome update, Dan!

Keeping up with your blog and hearing about how everything is going reinforces two things for me. First, you obviously have a tremendous amount of support from a wealth of wonderful folks. Second, that the collective prayers, positive thoughts, good kharma, etc., from everyone is indeed working! :o)

The Mitchler family will continue to do its part, e.g., we will keep up the prayers as well as the positive thoughts that translate into good kharma.

"Keep on keepin' on" my friend...those of us up north are thinking about you each and every day.

Allan Mitchler

Unknown said...

things sound great (all things considered)- congrats! hope things continue smoothly, and that your tubal appendages are quickly removed. i'd say to hurry up and get out of there, but think the weather there (or at home) might be reason to take your time.

best wishes,
amy cunningham

Anonymous said...

Dan, it's a surreal world you're in at the moment. We just keep wishing you the best as you heal.

Thank goodness for medical advances and exceptional doctors.

I kept strong and positive through all my surgeries/chemo by the wonderful things people said, did, and sent me. I'm thankful to see that you have a whole community cheering you on as well. I know the love coming at you will give you the strength to get this all taken care of.

Tanja and family

Kristin Skrien said...

Thanks Dan for taking the time to fill us all in on how you're doing. So many people are thinking about you and hoping for the absolute best for you! You really did have the mother of all surgeries, but it's done now and now it's time to recover. You really are in good hands, and the results and prognosis are all positive - way to go!
Weiman and many friends

Anonymous said...

Hello Dan,

If you have the time, check out the BB message board! We started a Dr. Suess contest in your honor!

Cling to your laughter pillow and read on!

Hope things have been good today!


Unknown said...


Hope you have a speedy recovery. Ron L. sent the link to get here. reading through your prose put a smile on my face and brought back good memories. You may be less one gall bladder, but I doubt they removed all the gall. Get well.

Mike Hassan