Good Bye IL-2, Hello Lung Surgery
The latest round of scans showed ongoing stability — no growth of the tumors. Dr. George said that we have had stability in the mets for the last couple of scans, which means we have had a positive response from the IL-2. We agreed that another round of IL-2 was not a good option due to toxicity levels and the fact that we weren’t getting additional shrinkage. Also, he was freaked out by the red rash on my face: “That’s just gross, man. It’s time to consider some surgical options.”
The good news is that Durham has a world-renown thoracic surgeon who will do the job. Also good, we learned that the surgeon will not have to carve me up. I had images of exposed ribs, curved and bare, like a turkey carcass after Thanksgiving. Instead, he will perform video-assisted thoracosocpic surgery. You probably know it as VATS. Instead of cracking my breastplate or even my ribs, he will be able to slice a couple of small holes in my side and insert some long-handled surgical tools and a little Jack Bauer CIA-like camera into my chest cavity and perform the surgery while watching the video on a monitor set up in the operating room.
I know what you’re thinking — and, yes, it is rather like a medically nerdy version of Grand Theft Auto.
Because there is no need for a large incision, the recovery time is startlingly quick. I should be out of the hospital within a day or two of the surgery and able to begin light work back at the office within two weeks or so.
The down side is that because there are some very sensitive nerves in the area that will be cut, the surgery is going to hurt like hell for a while. I was told that I would cry like a sissy but that the wound itself would heal rapidly. I was promised some very, very good drugs.
It sounds like we may be able to get this over with pretty quickly, too. The surgeon’s staff is going to call me and Dena later this week to schedule time for the operation. We are hopeful that it will be within the next week or two.
I’m going to see if I can’t get some Botox thrown in. This really could end up being a win-win.