Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Visit to the Liver Surgeon

Thursday, October 21

Today I meet Dr. Charpentier, who is the person recommended to be my liver surgeon. He is very thorough in his explanation of what my diagnosis is.  Although I understand what I am told,  I am annoyed and angry.  I am also a bit amazed.

He tells me I have done remarkably well with the chemo, and things have shrunken down very well.  My colon could be repaired sometime soon, which agrees with what Dr. Safran has told me.    He feels my liver will need more time.  Although those pesky little spots have shrunken down considerably, I am considered a five for health.  This is on a scale of one being good, and five being very high risk.  Although I am in good health otherwise, my liver is not in good shape.  There is a growth which surrounds the veins exiting my liver, which at this time does not give any clear option in cutting anything away. This news is shocking to me.  How can I be in such poor health, and not feel like it?  I am not happy with this news.

Dr. Charpentier tells me that to be able to do a good surgery, the tumor around those veins still needs to shrink down more.  He draws a picture of what my liver looks like.  I wish I had photographed it for you, but I didn't.  I was kind of shocked at what he was telling me.  He has not seen an MRI yet, since I am scheduled for my first one tomorrow, but he doubts that I will be ready for surgery in this area for a while longer.  I will need to finish the twelve rounds of chemo I am currently doing, the Folfox, and then he suggests I could get the mass in my colon removed, recover for about six weeks and then address the liver problems.  He thinks I will need to do more chemo.  It doesn't sound like he wants to work with Dr. Lentrichia and get two of the surgeries done at once.

The bottom line here is, I will not be done with this cancer thing by the end of this year.  I will be on Folfox until December, and then my doctors will see how things look.  I will be doing chemo into the next year.  This is what his thinking is before the MRI.  Once I have the MRI, he will meet with Dr. Safran and they will come up with a plan.  He definitely will not be meeting with Dr. Safran before my next appointment, which is Friday.

I am angry because this does not meet my timeline.  I am angry because I didn't know how bad my liver is.  I am amazed that I can feel so fine, except for the side effects of the chemo, and be considered in such poor health.  I am annoyed that I didn't know all this, but also relieved.  Maybe I wouldn't be feeling so well if I had known all of this from the start.

To celebrate(!) my most annoying news, I am having a pity party for myself at knitting tonight.  I bring ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream, served with a huge dollop of complaining from me.  It is great.  The one good thing the surgeon told me is that I can eat as many calories as I can.  He doesn't even care about the quality of those calories, he is looking for quantity here.  I have been doing my part in that area for sure.

I eat, complain and feel grumpy and pissed off about this.  Tomorrow, I will be done with my complaning.  I will have my MRI and see what comes of that.

Bottom line: I was/am sicker that I knew.

Top line: I can still get through this.  This is my endurance test.  I will make it to the end and finish this race.


  1. Kathy, you are courage itself, sharing this news openly. My heart skipped a beat as I saw what you wrote, and now I am in awe of your brave and forward-looking spirit. You are a warrior, ready and fit for battle. If anyone can do this, it will be you. Go ahead and complain, grouse, moan, as much as you need. In the end, after this pause to digest this news, I see you lifting your chin, ready to resume the race, and make it to the end.

  2. I'm so glad the knitters were there for you that night.

  3. Kathy you are a true role model. When hard times come for me I will have your journey as a guide. We all know you can do this.

  4. Kathy, remember they are only practicing medicine and do not know everything. You know you are healthy and strong. And we know how loving and good you are and how much you give with your heartwarming spirit!