Chapter 15: We have a date

Don and his new BFF (the Duke scheduling lady) have planned his surgery for Wed, June 14. For the last week or so she would call his office and miss him; he would call her back and miss her; this went on and on, with little bits of messages left for each other, until finally they traded cell phone numbers and were able to connect. I think they will meet for coffee soon! LOL.

A pre-op appointment is scheduled for May 30. Originally on that day he was scheduled for the G-scan at Duke, but with surgery around the corner the scan will be postponed until a few months after his surgery. The Duke oncology team actually called Don this week to tell him Dr. Morse feels like they will see everything there is to see when they open him up, so no need for the scan before the surgery. It makes more sense to do it after, as the beginning of Don’s on-going check-ups and maintenance. This sounds good to us and I was delighted to know they were closely reviewing his case.

Don is feeling really good these days. Which begs the looming question – will surgery make things better or worse? I am learning that with cancer one big aspect of treatment is “how are you feeling today?” Paying attention to how the patient feels physically is an important consideration that needs to go along with the other aspects – is treatment working? Are the tumors going away/getting smaller? And of course, these questions mean different things for patients dealing with neuroendocrine cancer compared to other cancers. I decided to check in with our friend Brenda in Canada (see my Zebra post from March) to get her perspective. Almost 2 years ago she was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Cancer and had 75% of her liver removed plus a section of her bowel (location of primary tumor). When we met her in March, she was the epitome of health! When I checked in with her this week, she described the chance she had recently to hear Dr. Liu speak (he is a rock star doctor in the neuroendocrine cancer world) and at the beginning of his talk he said the first three steps of treatment are:
1. Cut it out
2. Cut it out
3. Cut it out….
And how surgery is truly the best first line to progression free survival. So….we feel good about this decision.

Brenda did say eating and digestive issues can be a challenge following surgery, but for her things were fine after a couple of months. That is what we are hoping & expecting for Don!

Summer for the boys begins on June 12. Surgery date is June 14. Boy Scout Camp is June 18 – 24. Don will be in the hospital for about a week (June 14-20ish), and then home from work another 3-4 weeks. No rest for the weary around here! Although we will make sure Don gets plenty of rest starting June 14. We appreciate your thoughts & prayers as we take this next step.



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