Going with our gut

I'm a little weary but I still want to get all this information noted. Tuesday we went to see Dr. Hanna. The short version is that Dr. Hanna said there is a lot of mucus in Rich's abdomen but that it seems to be mostly mucus and that is good. He said that in the end, we have to choose a surgeon that we trust to make good decisions on the operating table because CT scans really only tell part of the story and we won't really know what will have to happen until they're in there looking around.

We scheduled a surgery date with Dr. Hanna and left feeling good. I rejoiced that I finally had my husband back versus the agonizing ball of angst that I've been living with the last month or so. We decided to keep our appointment with Dr. Sardi so that we could compare information and make a well-informed decision. We equated it to test driving a car but not buying it until we had at least test driven another car.

So today we went to see Dr. Sardi. His physician assistant was very nice and his assistant was also quite good. And Dr. Sardi was not bad, per se. But we just didn't feel right. You know how sometimes when someone knows too much about something, they give too much information that just ends up confusing you? That was our talk with Dr. Sardi. It's much like trying to ask Mr. Smith for directions on how to get downtown, "Ok, you know where the construction is on 295 and it goes to 1 lane and then there's the exit that comes up fast? And then you have to loop around to get gas and then make a left to get back on the interstate and take your life in your hands? Yeah, ok, that's not the way you're gonna go, so ignore that." GAH!

It's one thing when Mr. Smith can't tell me how to get to the damn Smithsonian in 500 words or less, but it's another thing entirely when a doctor is rambling about colostomies and follow up chemo and taking out lots of other organs and then randomly says "oh, but we rarely do that so we might not have to for you." GAH!

We walked out of the appointment in silence and once we got to the car, we just sat there in the parking garage, staring outside. Rich asked hesitantly, "So, are you not optimistic anymore?" And I wasn't sure what to say. I certainly wasn't stoked. We moped our way out of the city and into I-95 traffic. I texted a few people. I mourned the brief reunion with my happy husband as he now looked very haggard again.

After surgery consult #2

But then we started talking. Both surgeons talked about the unknown. Both surgeons have a lot of experience with this procedure. Dr. Hanna was just so much easier to talk to. I felt part of a winning team after leaving his office and for the first time in forever, Rich was optimistic (if cautiously). And after looking at CT scans with Dr. Sardi today I just felt stupid and confused.

It may sound strange to pick a surgeon based on how you feel, but we both just felt better with Hanna. This sounds very new age, but I just felt a lot of negativity in Sardi's office. Not by him necessarily or his staff, but something just set me on edge. When we talk about making decisions during childbirth, we always talk about trusting our intuition. And my flight reflexes were on high alert the entire time we were in Sardi's office. In contrast, we played cards waiting for bloodwork at Hanna's office. It's very hard to quantify, but it was strong.

So we have chosen Dr. Hanna as Rich's surgeon. The surgery is scheduled for Monday, November 12 at 7:30am. This means we'll be going to Marinus Investiture to be invested on Saturday, driving to Maryland on Sunday first thing in the morning, processing the "colon blow" potion they give Rich pre-surgery and then driving into the city Monday morning at dawn. I know it sounds crazy, but it sounds very doable to us.

I do have a few visual aids for those following along from home. The first picture is a side view of Rich's torso. It doesn't look that strange, other than there is a dense section in the middle part of his belly. That's all slime. I colored it for your convenience.

A side view of Rich's torso

The second picture is a cross-section of Rich's torso, from the thicker part of said slime, maybe where his sternum stops. The orientation is as if he were lying on his back, you were at his feet and looking up his nose. His spine is on the bottom and the part on our right looking at it is actually his left. That big slimy section at the top is all mucus. So yeah, there's a lot of slime in there, but it's been "hidden" by the fact it's so high in Rich's torso and he has a very barrel chest. Also, being 6'5" he has a lot of real estate in his torso for things to get mushed and still function.

A slice of Rich's torso

Today was a rough day. But we're both feeling better and have a game plan. I really liked Dr. Hanna and I just keep thinking about how calm Rich felt after meeting with him. It was the closest I've seen him to believing me when I tell him everything is going to be okay.

You can see the worry start to melt away after talking to the surgeon.

And, besides, the wifi is WAY better at Dr. Hanna's office than Dr. Sardi's.