Surgery it is…again

My Dad and I met with Dr. Sielaff, the Liver surgeon this morning.   He concurred with Dr. Duane that we could go ahead with surgery.  This surgery is really border line on if they should do it.  So much so that Dr. Sielaff called Dr. Duane this morning and asked if he would put him in jail for operating on me.  Dr. Duane said that if he was going to jail on this one, that they would put him there too as he 100% endorses it.  Dr. Duane is concerned that I have already maxed out my chemo benefits and that we should take this opportunity while we have it to go for a “cure”.  “Cure” for a cancer patient (especially a Stage 4 patient) is tough to hear as it really gets your hopes up, even though the stats are pointed against you.  Dr. Sielaff shared this stat with us:  the median length of time for surviving stage 4 colon cancer if you just do chemo is 24 months.  As Han Solo said in Empire Strikes Back, “Never tell me the odds!”  One little hint on keeping a positive attitude-believe that all those stats, numbers and doctors don’t know you or what you and your Faith are capable of.

The Surgery:  Surgery day is next Wed., the 11th.   The surgery will be performed at Abbott Northwestern.  I check in at 8 a.m., they start working on me at 10:30 a.m.  The surgery will last about 5 hours.  Dr. Sielaff will be joined by his partner and some 4th year med students for the procedure.  During the first hour they will enter me laproscopically.  That means that they will make a smaller incision and view the liver  to again ensure that there is no smaller cancer seeds or tumors that were not seen during all the scans.  If they see something more than they did from all the scans, they will sew me back up and I will go back on chemo.  If they don’t see anything new, they will continue on with the full surgery.  The incision is rather large-a vertical line down the abdomen and then a horizontal line extending under the right rib cage.  During the surgery they will remove the entire left lobe of the liver and the gall bladder.  After removing those, he will move on to the remaining tumors and try and “ice cream scoop” them out.  If he can’t remove some of them he may radiate them right away.  If the surgery goes on too long or he starts to have difficulties removing some of the remaining tumors, he will stitch me back up and schedule a second surgery.  During or after the surgery(not sure which) he will pull my family into a private consultation room to explain how the procedure went.  My Dad said that this happened during my other two surgeries as well.  As with all surgeries, there are risks-heart attack, liver failure, blood clots and bile leakage are some of the one’s he listed for this one.

Post Surgery:  They are telling me that I will be in the hospital for about 5 days.  Hopefully I will actually get out when they say I will this time.  Any complications during surgery or recovery of course will extend that stay.  I will go home with Vicodin to help me deal with the pain.  They said the full recovery takes 4-6 weeks.  They said I would probably be able to go back to work on a part time basis during week 3.  The liver is the one organ that rebuilds itself.  One astonishing fact…the liver area that is removed finishes regenerating itself around week 6!    As far as diet and restrictions there is only one-no alcohol during the first six weeks after surgery.  The only other restriction is no lifting over 10 lbs. for the first six weeks.

Home Front:  Karen’s Mom and Dad will help take care of her and the boys while I’m vacationing at the hospital.  Karen’s sisters will probably get some Brenden and Jaxson time as well.  We will get the boys up to visit me a couple days after surgery so they see I am doing o.k.

Next step-after surgery:   I have an appointment to meet my Oncologist, Dr. Duane about 4 weeks after the surgery.  At that point he will outline my next round of chemo(how long, type of drugs, scans, etc…)

Communication:  During my surgery and recovery it will be up to Karen and Sarah to keep you all informed on how I am doing.  To learn more about my surgeon and the hospital I will be at, I will try to post links on the right side of my home page.

Again thank you for all your prayers, thoughts and well wishes.  I and my family again will need all that support as I take the next step in this battle.  Thank you so much for your love! 🙂

Chris

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “Surgery it is…again

  1. Kent & Joy Bahr

    Chris, One thing I’ve always known is that you are an amazing person! Remember when JJ was born, I had hoped that she would someday marry a man justlike you when she grew up! The second thing I know is that we have a truly amazing God, that is able to do much more then we ask of Him! Those are the odds I like! He will see you through this as he has seen you through the other struggles in life. We will continue to fervently pray for your complete healing. We are with you and your family in thoughts and prayer! We love you! Kent and Joy

  2. Diana and Randy Miller

    We wish you the very best with the new surgery. We are praying for you always. Take care – keep the faith and STAY STRONG. We are praying for a cure.

  3. Taisa Diedrich

    Chris,
    So glad you received the news you were hoping for! It is a major surgery, but if this is what could possibly ‘cure’ you, then it will obviously all be worth it! I am fully aware of how extensive this surgery is, but I truly believe with a positive attitude and strong faith, you will get through it just fine! I will absolutely be praying for you and your family and will be awaiting an update next Wed. Chris, stay strong! You can beat this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    In peace, love & finding a cure,
    Taisa

  4. Lisa Coleman

    Go Chris, go Chris, GO!!!!

    We are praying even harder for a cure for you down here in Madtown.

  5. Lo

    Well, Ok, then! That is Minnesotan for “Bring it on”, of course. I’ll be sending positive thoughts and prayers, Chris:)

  6. Pat Groeper

    CHRIS,KAREN AND FAMILY ,
    YOU CAN’T WIN ANY BATTLES IF YOUR NOT IN THE FIGHT!!!!! THE LORD HAS HAD HIS HAND ON YOU FROM THE BEGINING. YOU ARE NOT WHERE YOU ARE TODAY WITH OUT A WHOLE LOTA JUST PLAIN GUTSON YOUR PART AND THE HAND OF THE LORD AND PRAYERS!! AND WE ARE ALL STILL RIGHT HERE AND GOING NO PLACE BUT FORWARD WITH PRAYERS AND LOVE!!! I KNOW THAT THE LORD HAS PUT YOU IN SOME OF THE BEST HANDS I PERSONALLY THINK IN THE COUNTRY!! THE SEILAFF TEAM CAN’T BE BEAT WITH YOU AS A PATIENT ! YOUR ALL WINNERS AND CANCER THE LOSER!!!!SO LET’S GO FOR IT!!!

  7. Connie Larson

    Attitude is Everything.
    I finally got a chance to go back and catch up on what has been going on with you. You and Karen have been through A LOT in the last few months. But it seems you still have a good attitude about it all. Think positive. Have faith.
    Thoughts and prayers are with you!!!

  8. Hi Chris,
    I’m not sure if you remember me but we met at the colon cancer support group at Methodist. I have been reading your blog weekly and can definitely relate to what you have been going through. I was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer in January 2008, had a colon resection and six months of chemo. When I had my three month check I had a recurrence of cancer on my liver. I had a colon resection done at Abbott on January 7th by the Sielaff group. I just want to tell you that you are in great hands! What a skilled group of surgeons! Everything went well with my surgery and I am now recuperating. I wish you the best in your surgery and I will continue to pray for you and your family. You are an inspiration to me! Keep the faith and your positive attitude! The good Lord is with us every step of the way. If you ever want to chat please email me and I will send you my phone number.

    The best to you and your family!

    Bev DeVos

  9. Lois and Don

    Dear Chris and Karen,
    We wanted you to know that you will be in our
    thoughts and prayers on Wednesday. Our friend Jim in Cashton is having cancer surgery on Wednesday also so it will be a prayerful day. May God bless all of you and keep you in his tender loving care. May He also guide the surgeons hand. We love you and think of you often.

  10. Fred and Patty

    As Larry the Cable Guy says “Git er Done”

    Chris and Karen,
    We pray surgery goes good and that Gods love, strength and blessings shine down on you and your family.

  11. Chris Manor

    Chris,

    We will all be thinking of you on Wednesday. I am heartened by the fact that you have such a caring and loving support group of friends and family!! As always, if you or or your family need anything, please let me know. Stay strong.

    Chris

  12. Aunt Val & Eli

    Dear Chris and Karen,

    You are in our thoughts and prayers daily. Tomorrow it will be continuous. From reading the other comments, it sounds like you have a great surgery team, and we know that God has placed you in their care.

    God Loves You and so do We!!

  13. Stephen walden

    Chris, you are a man of God, and an inspiration to all. I am blessed by your faith. I made a note on my iPod to pray for you everytime I use it. Steve

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