To say that I am a little nervous about any type of surgery would be a rather normal reaction, but I am about to have an ‘Open extended right hemicolectomy”. “What on earth is a hemicolectomybobby??” I hear you ask, well good question. Basically the surgeon and his team will be opening me up down the centre of my stomach and removing a section of my bowel. How much is going to be removed and if anything else will be operated on will not be decided until I am already on the table. The team will also make the decision on whether I will need a colostomy or ileostomy bag during the surgery. Colostomy and ileostomy were two words that I had not really heard of before and I’m sure many of you are the same. From what I understand the colostomy bag is where an end of the large intestine/colon is directed towards an abdominal opening which is called a stoma. The ileostomy is the same but it is the small intestine/colon that is directed out to the stoma. A bag is then worn over the stoma which catches your waste material. So if you want to get a little crude, it means that you are basically pooing out of your stomach. But here is the best part…..the bag has a filter on it which ensures that the air (including farts) that go into the bag come out without a hint of smell. Genius!!
The operation itself should only go for 3-4 hours and I will hopefully only be in hospital for a week. Given my age and fitness the doctors and nurses don’t foresee any major issues. As far as pain relief, the plan is for me to have an epidural during the surgery and for a couple of days after. As many will be aware, epidurals are more commonly associated with child birth. Basically it is a needle that goes into the epidural space of the spinal cord. This will help to control any pain around my abdomen. After a couple of days I may be placed onto self medicating morphine and hopefully only on panadol by the time I am ready to go home.
It have now been 2 months and 1 day since my diagnosis and all in all I still feel pretty good. As of today I have had increasing discomfort in the area of the tumour, so the surgery can not come soon enough. But only last week we had a quick trip to Tasmania were we floated with seals and took a two hour quad bike tour around Freycinet National Park. So at this stage the cancer isn’t holding me back too much other than getting tired throughout the day.
I will keep you updated on the surgery, wish me luck.