The Gippy Pages


I'm done with the cancer, but the cancer isn't done with me

Oct 16, 2015 | Cancer, Life | By Shawn Parker

I hate this.

In two weeks I go in for an Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection (RPLND). Not something I’m looking forward to.

The verdict is that the masses I have left are either:

  • scar tissue
  • teratomas
  • still tumors

The docs are concerned that the tumors are putting too much pressure on my kidneys and could also interfere with other organs by means of compromising blood flow and possible invasion.

So, that means that I get the big nasty surgery that I didn’t want. The surgery is a hefty one. It’ll require resting my intestines on my chest while they take out the tumors. The tumors are close to major arteries, nerve centers and my left kidney. I’ll be in the hospital for 5-7 days. Suggested recovery time is another 3 weeks beyond that.

As of now they’re after only 2 tumors, but they’ll remove anything else they see that concerns them. The tumors look HUGE on the PET scans. The size of my fist or larger. I thought they were smaller than that.

There’s a possibility that several different sexual functions can be impacted by the surgery. But we won’t know what’s impacted until afterward, unfortunately.

Either way it won’t be fun. I’ll get an epidural, a catheter down my nose and in to my stomach, and a urinary catheter. No food for 2-3 days. Feeding will be intravenous. Then the doc said he’s gonna kick me out of bed and make me walk around as soon as possible. I’m gonna be one grumpy asshole (ok, so this isn’t new).

So, yeah… I need a drink.

So much for normalcy

I’m let down by this news. I let myself get too comfortable with the thought that despite the tumors showed no change in size from the chemo that I could relax and call it done. I feel like my oncologist could have better prepared me for the reality of my situation. But that’s neither here nor there.

The reality is that this was always a possibility and reality likes to bring ya back down to earth with a resounding thud sometimes.

This is particularly tough because I’ve been struggling as of late. The neuropathy is driving me crazy. Among the physical issues that it has brought is also a mental issue. I’m not all here. My ability to focus is shot and I can’t get productive at work. This has been going on for a few weeks, well before the word came down that I’ll be getting surgery. It is making me grumpy and overall I’ve got a pretty bad attitude towards work.

I do enjoy being back at work. I like my work and I like who I work with. But my ability to concentrate on the task at hand or sometimes even properly conceptualize the solution needed is severely compromised. I take a long time to do what I used to be able to crank out. A lot changed while I was out and every day I find something that I used to know that I no longer have any scope on. I don’t feel like I’m contributing. And I feel like my relevance to the team is waning.

Another 4 weeks of being on the sidelines isn’t going to help that feeling.

Tagged as: cancer, rplnd, surgery, testicular, tumors