Thursday, January 12, 2012

Meeting my Surgeon - Chapter 2 of My Cancer Story

This post is the 2nd in a series describing my journey with Colon Cancer.  If you haven’t read the first installment, click HERE.

My colon cancer has just been diagnosed by a Gastroenterologist, via a colonoscopy.  It’s December 26, 2001.  Ron and I are on the way to St Francis Hospital in Memphis to meet my surgeon, Dr. W. Scott King, Jr.  He has been highly recommended by my Gynecologist, Dr. Thayer.

Word on my condition is out, apparently, because we have no wait at the doctor’s office before being escorted into a private room to meet Dr. King.  I am quivering with fear and sick to my stomach.  I’m hanging onto Ron like a floatation device.  Then Dr. King sweeps into the room.
W. Scott King, MD

He's a bundle of focused energy, and exudes confidence. Tall and lanky, his longish, grey hair is tied back in a small ponytail.  He makes us think of a retired fighter pilot – cocky and self-assured, but in a personable way that immediately inspires confidence.  Dr. King tells us what he knows from the colonoscopy.  Surgery will be required before we can know more – including my prognosis.

Out comes “The Colon Book”, a color pamphlet with information patients can understand.  Using the booklet, Dr. King draws in the location of my cancerous tumor.  It’s in the sigmoid (lower) colon, where waste is stored and pushed down to the rectum.  There is some good news.  The tumor is not in the rectum, which would make surgery and recovery much more complicated.  I will not have to live life after surgery with a colostomy bag.  Further, it will be possible to have my planned hysterectomy and colon resection during the same surgery, while they have my abdomen open.  Two surgeries; one recovery.  Dr. Thayer will do the full hysterectomy, and Dr. King will do the colectomy (colon resection) – removing about a foot of colon, along with the tumor.  I am assured that we all have way more colon than we really need, so I’ll never miss what he takes out.
Dr. King has provided a plan, comfort that we are in the right hands and, most importantly, HOPE.  We won’t know whether the cancer has spread outside the colon until pathology is done on the removed colon and surrounding tissue, but we know we need to cut the bad stuff out.  Now I’m anxious to move ahead.
Surgery is scheduled for January 7, 2002.  I’ll be in the hospital for about a week, and will have to take two months off work for recovery.

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