I know many who are not connected to me on Facebook are wondering about the results of the exploratory laparoscopy.  I wanted to write a more thoughtful piece but that’s taking a little longer than I had hoped.  So, in the meantime, I wanted to let everyone know the outcome of the surgery.  

I am clean — no visible signs of cancer. WOOHOO!

While I was told to be at the hospital by 6 a.m. on Friday, I didn’t walk into the OR until a little bit after 8 a.m. — yes, I walked and was not wheeled in.  While Josh and I were waiting in the holding room for Dr. D.L. to appear and have me sign the consents, my anesthesiologist, Andrew, from my HIPEC surgery recognized me and came over to say hi.  Apparently, I’d made quite an impression on him.  I was really excited because I’d connected with Andrew and thought he was going to be my anesthesiologist again, but alas no.  Instead, I got one of the younger anesthesiologists, someone Andrew had trained as I would later learn, Dr. P — I mean why not give a simple short exploratory surgery like mine to a young doctor who doesn’t quite yet know what he’s doing.  The needle he stuck in my hand to start the IV hurt like hell and it continued to hurt, which is unusual for me.  By now, I’ve had a lot of practice with needles, IVs and pain tolerance.  And then, as I was lying in the OR, knowing that the next step would be the administration of a nice relaxing drug, Dr. P. injected said drug so quickly and forcefully into my vein and without any warning that my arm jerked up in agonizing pain and I screamed so loud that everyone fussing over me (but who were for whatever reason looking at other parts of my body) jerked their heads around to stare at me.  Dr. P. looked at me quizzically, as if to say, “What’s wrong?”  If I see Andrew again, I will tell him he needs to give Dr. P. a little bit more training!

The next thing I knew I was waking up in Recovery and croaking out through my chapped lips and raw throat, “What were the surgical findings?”  Of course, the recovery nurse had no idea and told me the doctor would speak to me soon.  Then, I asked what time it was — it’s always important to know what time it is when you’re trying to figure out what happened during your surgery.  I was told 9:45.  That was good, I decided.  Things had gone as expected and presumably Dr. D.L. didn’t spent much time cutting any unpleasant surprises out.

Soon, Josh was there and I could tell immediately that everything was okay.  Dr. D.L. had found him at about 9:40 and told him I was “pristine”, that I had very little scar tissue despite my prior surgeries and so he had been able to get an excellent look around and he had seen nothing of concern.  He said there were a couple spots he had biopsied to be on the safe side but they were almost certainly scar tissue.  He had also taken washings to test for microscopic disease but the results of the washings and biopsies wouldn’t be back until Tuesday or Wednesday.  Even if the washings turn out to be positive (which we are all kind of expecting them to be anyhow), he would consider this a great success.  He suggested that if the washings came back positive we might consider doing another HIPEC laparoscopically to try to kill those microscopic cells.  Ughhhhhhhh.  Another HIPEC?   I don’t want to think about it right now.  Let me bask in the joy of this good result before thinking about more HIPEC.

Josh said Dr. D.L. was all smiles, happy for me but also filled with a certain pride in his work.  Because this type of surgery post-HIPEC is so unusual, it’s rare for Dr. D.L. to get a chance to go in afterwards and see the successful outcome of his prior work months later.  Often times, when he’s going back in, it’s to deal with a recurrence.  (In a bit of lawyer humor, Josh said he was like a lawyer who was giddy after closing a deal.)

And of course, Josh being who he is, had to ask that question, “Do you think she can beat this?”  Dr. D.L’s answer, “Yes, I do.  I really do.”

As guarded as Josh and I are about everything, as controlled as we are in being happy about any positive news, we both feel this was a major victory, an important milestone.

Expect another post soon and more about the conversation between Josh and Dr. D.L.  Thank you to everyone for all your support and concern.  I left the hospital by 12:30 and rested for the rest of the day.  I didn’t manage to go trick-or-treating with the kids because I was nauseous and in some pain from the air from the laparoscopy trying to escape through my shoulders and back.  That pain was really the worst part of this whole thing.  I didn’t even take a Tylenol.  Amazing what medicine is capable of now.

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cirincione, Norma F.
    Nov 03, 2014 @ 15:36:45

    Julie and Josh,

    Edward and I couldn’t be happier over the results of Friday’s procedure. WOOHOO is right!

    Our very warmest to you and your family.

    Norma and Edward


  2. Tyler
    Nov 03, 2014 @ 15:41:21

    Excellent!!!!!! You ARE beating this Julie, but I never had a doubt in my mind. Power on woman!!!


  3. Thomas
    Nov 03, 2014 @ 15:42:24

    Thanks for sharing the great news! We are very excited for you!


  4. Bill Ide
    Nov 03, 2014 @ 16:07:49

    Fabulous and well earned. Your positive attitude can’t be beat!


  5. Chrissy Rice
    Nov 03, 2014 @ 20:42:02

    Awesome just wonderfully awesome!!


  6. The Astonishing FartMan
    Nov 03, 2014 @ 23:11:49

    Whew. That’s a relief.

    How’s that for understatement?

    Really, the emotion one feels after getting a “clean” report is unlike anything else in this world.

    If you are like me, you steel yourself by always expecting the worst, while still keeping a firm grip on hope, everlasting hope.

    And then, in a odd way, when the good news comes, the feeling of relief is almost deflating. It’s quite inexplicable unless someone has had the experience.One doesn’t know quite what one should do with oneself. One is happy of course, beyond happy, but the psyche has had such a trial, that the mind can’t quite absorb the news.

    This cancer biz is so strange.

    Okay, then. Shall we just be happy? Shall we just take this good news and run with it? Yes, we shall.

    Your news makes me happy!

    (I wrote and tried to post a very long comment a couple of blogs ago, but it disappeared into the nethersphere. Probably for the best.)


  7. William Simpson
    Nov 04, 2014 @ 10:31:20

    Julie, THAT is the best news I’ve had for a long time. I’m so happy to get this report of your results. Bill


  8. jjaug17
    Nov 05, 2014 @ 00:50:06

    Let me join the chorus of WOOHOOS! So glad to hear the good news.
    Jeff J.


  9. adamshajnfeld
    Nov 05, 2014 @ 11:19:04

    Great news! And so many great, thoughtful posts. I don’t know how you do it all.


  10. adamshajnfeld
    Nov 05, 2014 @ 11:20:07

    Great news! And such great, thoughtful posts. I don’t know how you do it all.


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