That’s what the doctor told us as he described the surgery Joe could soon face.
This is the surgeon our doctor in Orlando sent us to Houston to see. He’s the top dog. The surgery is what he’s telling us is Joe’s best option. It’s called “Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy” and the doctor handed us a 3 inch manual to try and understand just what it is.
Our doctor told us it’s known in the “biz” as the M.O.S. — mother of surgeries.
Joe has finished the 8 rounds of chemotherapy the oncologist and surgeon wanted to see. The scans show it’s keeping the tumors stable, which is good news. They wanted to make sure the chemo would work before they would ever put him through this invasive and scary surgery.
Joe told the doctor he was scared and the doctor’s response was that he should be, that if he wasn’t scared then he wasn’t listening.
The surgeon will make an incision from Joe’s breast bone to his pelvic bone and work around his body clockwise to remove any tumors. They’ll then stick tubes in and put a heated chemotherapy through his body. Doctors will actually shake Joe’s body around for 90 minutes to let the chemo soak inside. From there, he’s put back together with a few extra tubes and bags to keep things in place as he heals.
The doctors say to plan for 21 days in the hospital and a possible longer stay in Houston for follow-up checks.
I don’t really know if you want to look at this as good or bad news. I know we as humans want things to feel one way or another but it’s difficult to make that decision.
It’s good news that we have options. It’s bad news that we can’t guarantee it’ll work. It’s good news the chemo is keeping things stable. It’s bad news the cancer is still there at all.
This is a huge decision and while it’s easy for some of us not going under the knife to just say, “Get in there and cut it all out”. That’s not an easy route for Joe who has such a rocky road to face.
We spent a lot of time crying yesterday. Just feeling overwhelmed and scared. Our biggest fear is the possibility of me going into labor at all while Joe would be tied up with tubes in the hospital. Because of this Joe wants to try and move as quickly as possible if we move forward with the surgery.
We also know we need help. That’s hard because I want to be the one to take care of Joe and he wants to be the one to take care of me. But we are going to have to accept whatever help we can to get through this.
I don’t pray for miracles. I feel bad even saying that but I don’t. I won’t allow myself to live in a fantasyland but I am holding onto hope that this surgery could give us time. The doctors can’t give us any guarantees. In fact, our surgeon told us the opposite. He had just done this surgery on a 19 year old girl for the second time. Her cancer came back after 2 years. So I know the reality but I want to let myself hope that this could get us to the other side. These next few months are going to be nothing short of stressful insanity. But what if we can get Joe better and we get 5 cancer-free years? What if we get 10? Wouldn’t it be worth it?
I’ve promised Joe it’s his body and his decision but I can’t help but feel selfish and say we need him.
We’ll figure it out and feel the love coming from all over.