Wednesday, 14 April 2010

splenectomy: will trade organs for time off chemo

A splenectomy is a surgical procedure that partially or completely removes the spleen.

... and I'm getting me one.

I went to see my Consultant today. In her room was an unfamiliar face. I was introduced to Dr.Ahab, a surgeon. "This doesn't look too promising", I thought to myself.

To be fair, they didn't tell me anything I didn't know - as I had the CT scans myself from last Friday. A quick look at the image to your right, will show that my spleen (the largest lump on the right hand side, squashing my kidney, should tell you all you need to know). note: this image should be reversed, it's actually on the left-hand side.

So, the fat spleen is coming out ... but there is good news. The rest of the cancerous lymph nodes have responded well to chemo and shrunk. My Consultant seemed quite pleased with the overall progress. It is expected that once this operation is done and I'm fit enough to have the evil chemo again, that there will be around another 6 treatments and I will probably be clear. I've had 6 treatments so far, so I guess 'half way there' on the chemo front is almost reassuring.

The surgeon was a nice guy - he took me next door 'for a feel' and was quite impressed by the size of my spleen - to the point where he want's to show his medical students. I said that there were royalties and contractual issues we would need to agree upon first.

Before the operation, I need to have a
"PET-CT" scan (not 100% sure, but it shows up the lymphoma more clearly or *something*). I will also need a herd of injections from my GP - meningitis etc., to ensure I've had all my 'boosters', as spleenless people are susceptible to infection/illness. 

I've been told, with a serious face, that this is a 'big operation'. They will cut all the way down the front of me and open me up like a tin of beans to remove the spleen. I was warned of some possible dangers - some thrombosis type issue and some sudden sepsis possibility, but you can read about that on the Wikipedia link if you like. There's risks to everything and I'm not going to start worrying about them now, as my options are somewhat limited anyhow. My hospital stay is expected to be about 5-7 days and once I'm kicked out, I imagine I'll get about 3-4 weeks of recovery time, before the chemo starts again.

I will have to take penicillin for the rest of my life, daily - a pill in the morning. I imagine I will have to ensure I get booster injections and things like that as well - but really, no big deal.

I'm actually in a quite a good mood about this all, as ALL CHEMO IS CANCELLED!. This is great news for me. I've got a three, maybe four, week spell where I can eat, rest, work and create music without the sickness getting in the way. I intend to get a small holiday down with a very mate in Worthing ... just praying for a bit of sunshine in the next fortnight or so to make that perfect. The thought of a few long-ish walks along the sea sounds like heaven right now.

Right - there's your news ... I anticipate not a huge amount of new updates coming our way for a while now ... but at least you won't have to hear me whinge my way through another chemo session.

I'm off to start explaining to my spleen that things just haven't worked out between us - that it's not you, it's me and that perhaps it's time that he moved on. I think he will be upset but he'll know it's for the best. 

I hate these long goodbyes.


UPDATE: Lots and lots and lots of people have asked me today, "What's the date?" of the operation. Sorry I didn't make that clear. I don't know yet - I've just been told it's about 3-4 weeks. Rest assured when I know, you'll know very shortly after. S.S.


Jen said...

Your spleen will cope fine - they always do...hey, good news to be honest, feel some relief for you somehow - only 6 more chemo's to go instead of 8 months worth - YAYE love you xxx

Simon said...

Re. Contracts and royalties: I can recommend a good agent I came across when I was 13 and had a nasty case of glandular fever (mono to those across the pond). I had med students come to point and laugh as well as a photoshoot of my three (count 'em) different rashes. Make sure they're not using those CT scan images of your spleen in lymphoma text books without your say so.

Re. Breaking up with your spleen: You'll do just fine, let's face it - you've had plenty of experience with that particular conversation. Internal organs have got to be easier than girls...

Re. Good news/bad news: As far as I can make out, it's all good news:

- Break from chemo
- Responding well/should be clear soon
- Going to Worthing. Woooo!

You don't need your spleen anyway, I always felt that he was holding you back to be honest.

Anonymous said...

Really pleased for you mate Great News!!
See you soon one saturday? Everyones asking
after you, don't they realize its all about me??

God bless, Mark

RC said...

Wow scary prospect. My spleen shrank back down during my chemo so thankfully it is not coming out. Not for now anyway although it does give me a twinge now and then.

Yours is certainly a whopper, I don't think mine got that big. It'll be interesting to see how much weight you lose. They reckon that mine shrinking counted for about 3kgs of weight loss during my treatment.

The Kemo Kid said...

Hey RC .. I think a week of being offered Watford General Hospital food will ensure more weight loss than the removal of the spleen.

Glad you're doing good mate.


ladylaird said...

give us a shout if you come to worthing, am just around the corner! x