A couple of weeks ago, we met with the oncologist. The good news was that the cancer had not spread from its happy home in the bladder to the prostate after all. So it was stage 1-2 rather than stage 4. It was aggressive but there was only one type of cell. The bad news was that the bladder and prostate had to come out. The only other option was to let it kill you. The doctor did not recommend that option.
Obviously if you don’t have a bladder, the urine has to go somewhere else. There are two options. (Actually there is a third, but it seems to encompass the worst aspects of the other two so the doctor doesn’t perform that one.) One is they leave a hole and attach a bag which the person empties regularly. The other is to create a pouch out of the intestine which functions like a bladder.
It would seem like a no-brainer. Who would want a bag when you can have a new bladder? Actually a lot of people. The intestine is full of bacteria which is good for it, but not good for a bladder. So infections may be a problem. Also, since things are getting reattached and Frank’s cancer is at the neck of the bladder, they might miss some of the cancer cells. By the time the cancer was found, it most likely would have metastasized, particularly since it is aggressive. Once again, there is the nasty issue of the cancer killing the patient. A significant downside.
The doctor said that Frank would need to decide within a week. Frank was going fishing the week after. When he returned it would be too late. We didn’t want to miss the window of opportunity.
So Frank thought. And thought. Talked to people about it. Decided that he didn’t want the possibility of some of the cells lurking in him. He called the doctor’s office and told them he would go with the ostomy. They said they’d call back with a date for the surgery.
We waited. And waited. Finally they called, a week and a half later. Apparently the window of opportunity only operated on our side. The date of the surgery is August 15. Yes. He had to wait seven weeks for the surgery.
Frank is currently on his fishing trip. The doctor’s secretary left a message today that she needed to talk to him. I decided that I should call her back rather than have him call on Monday (and me worry about it the entire time.)
She seemed rather concerned that Frank was on the trip. I told her the doctor knew. “Oh well. He must have forgotten about it.” Was it something urgent? Did they need him right away?
No; they needed a CT scan before the surgery. The August 15 surgery. Frank has a bunch of pre-op appointments on August 4. They had an opening the same day at CT. Would that work? That would be wonderful. She asked me a bunch of general questions about Frank’s health, and we were done. Crisis averted.
I shouldn’t complain. Frank has a wonderful doctor. Some extremely well-regarded oncology surgeon with a fantastic bedside manner. A professor at the University of Michigan Medical School. Someone who actually looked at the file well before the surgery and noticed that the CT scan had not been scheduled.
So I will wait.
(pictures courtesy of Google Images)