After a great weekend (school disco for adults, UNICEF game at old Trafford, time with family& friends) it was time for more appointments and calls with specialists to finalise treatment plans.
On Monday it was suggested to me that I should consider very carefully the operation that we had previously decided upon as my treatment plan. It was thought that surgery (removal of lining, diaphragm) was the best way forward but to be careful as to the extent. Thus, we have had to re-evaluate the options of, in addition to above: a) removing my left lung (EPP) and hopefully all the cancer or b)removing the cancer and repairing the lung (EPD). Medical literature states they have found no evidence that EPP benefits patients in the long term though.
Sleepless night on Monday, much discussion with Ali and family, and emails to specialists for more advice. After being certain on the way forward up until this point, this was very tough on us all! But I am glad this was raised with us, to ensure we have carefully evaluated our decision.
Tuesday involved speaking to Dr Waller and travelling to meet his excellent team in Leicester (People travel from all over Europe to see him- best in the business we’ve been told) and then straight to an appointment at the Alex (Manchester) with Professor Woodcock, who was the original Specialist we saw in April 2014. It was a long day but very informative!
EPP (lung removal) has not been done for over 12 months here. However, advice from Dr Waller and his team, who have always thought from experience EPP would be ideal for a select number of patients, is that I am this ‘select’ case: Young (don’t laugh!) to cope with major surgery, my right lung is fully functioning and that the Mesothelioma is at an early stage (we have had this now confirmed which is a positive)!
There are no guarantees, medical evidence, but from all the advice we feel it’s my best chance of obtaining any type of cure. By keeping the lung, this runs the risk of cancerous cells being left there or spreading, whilst with removing the lung there is more of a probability that they can get rid of it all. To summarise: “if I keep the lung I maybe able to play football with my mates, but not watch my kids for as long in their life or if I remove the lung, I won’t be able to play football but I maybe able to see my kids play for longer”. When put like this, removing the lung makes sense.
We are still to speak to a few specialists but I feel certain on the way forward. Even though Surgery has major risks (Mortality 1:20), after weighing everything up and seeking much advice, we feel it is the right decision. I want to be able to look in the mirror and say I gave it my best shot. I would always regret not removing the lung, if the cancer grew back in that area.
So the plan is to go into hospital on Tuesday 24th, with the operation on Wednesday 25th. I will be in Glenfield hospital (Leicester) for 7-10 days. First few days closely monitored on HDU. I believe in the surgeon and his team, I got an excellent feeling from them yesterday and from speaking with other Meso patients there as well.
For the operation I need to be fit and healthy. Thus, please don’t come near me if you have any bugs! Please remind me not to shake your hand or give you a cuddle and don’t be offended if I use hand gel immediately after shaking your hand! (Being the affectionate guy I am – this will be hard, already failed 3 times today!!!)
I am now looking forward to celebrating my 40th! Not sure what Ali has planned, but I’m sure I will enjoy it. ( No pressure Ali!)
Thanks for your continued support and offer of help. We are in the process of trying to plan practically what we need to do over the next few weeks, whilst trying to maintain normality for the kids. (We will tell them over the weekend that Daddy is going into hospital for an operation to make him better, they won’t be able to visit. We continue to appreciate your discreteness around the children). After hospital, recovery will be anything from 2-4 months, with chemo to most likely follow. Therefore, we will be calling on you all to help practically following your kind offers. Thank you in advance.
Keep the comments and support going, we cannot thank you all enough.
Lots of love
Dave & Ali
Ps: Ali will try her best next week to give an update via Facebook and or the blog.