tisdag 27 februari 2018

Liver cancer, surgery


3 weeks ago on Monday morning 0705 I went under the knife to get the tumor removed together with 1/4 of my liver (parts V & VIII in the picture above).

Part of a series:
Another reminder of mortality
Day 4 - Tumor in my liver
First week - tumor in my liver
Second week - tumor in my liver
Third week with liver cancer
Liver cancer, surgery
6 weeks post-op, news time
Cancer update
Liver cancer, Post-op 2
June Update 2018

I received spinal anesthesia and went to sleep within minutes. At 1930 I was in post-op after a surrealistic bed-ride from the operations department and talked with my wife in the phone.
Really nice people at post-op. I was really dry in my mouth for the first 14 hours or so and tried to drink water but it did not help. During the night I woke up every 10 minutes with a dry mouth and begging for a swapped with cold water.
Next day I was to start moving, at first sitting at the bedside, but felt lightheaded and almost passed out. In the afternoon I needed to change bed so I was able to sit on the bedside, raise up and walk to a chair 2 meters away, wait  for the new bed and then walk to the new  bed before passing out. After the incident I received 2 units of blood and the dryness disappeared. Evidently I had lost 3 liters during the surgery!
I was moved to the liver ward in the evening. Feeling better. Able to walk on the spot with the help of 2 nurses. Progress!

Slept 3-4 hours at a time through the night. I hear my pulse in the right ear. Tired  and sweaty. Received medications and they did tests every x hours, have no clue how often.

Next day, able to walk to the chair. And breathe through the lung-expander worked well. Doctor said she was worried that I was still in bed most of the time. My parents visited in the afternoon. I got a CT scan to make sure that my pulmonary embolism wasn't back. It was not and surgery area looked fine as well. Sister visited in the evening, received 2 units of blood during the night.

Seated a lot during night but able to sleep.
Next day I was told to walk 160m every other hour that I am awake. So mission, lung-expander and walks, that is what I do. Parents visited again in the afternoon. Nice to have company. They redid the bandages on my stomach. Looked good.

A night from hell. Did not sleep well. Sweated all the time and nightmares, surrealistic. Not knowing if I was awake or dreaming. Thought it was the fever. Mentioned it to the nurses.

Friday, slow starter. All sweaty from eating a sandwich. Not supposed to drink more then 2 liters today. Another mission, no problems!  Had to sleep before noon.
Even more sweaty, unimaginably sweaty during lunch.
After lunch walked some loops, read magazine and watched Olympics start ceremony and after that I felt OK-ish again. Easy to sweat though. Sister gave me a Chromecast, did not work with the hospitals open network. Talked and walked the loops many times.

Surgery wounds after 8 days when I was sent home
During the weekend I received even more blood, total of 6 units all in all. And on Tuesday I was sent home as all the tests were moving in the right direction and I was not in any pain. Still, had a low fever but nothing to be alarmed over according the the doctors if it did not start to raise. Nothing unusual after a large liver surgery.

Home for some days, really uncomfortable. No place that was good to sit in, stairs in the house were really hard to climb and even the bed was too 'flat'. As I am not allowed to use my abdomen I have to use a special technique to get into and out of bed. Low fever continues. Also start to cry for no reason, I guess all energy reserves are used up by now. I.e. I watched hockey on the TV and all of a sudden I was crying.

Thursday, fever starts to peak in the afternoon... And in the evening I call the hospital. But no need for alarm, as long as you do not get fever chills it should be OK, but call your contact nurse in the morning.
In the morning I went to the local health center to change the bandages and the were nice to take a CRP test that I could tell my contact nurse. Evidently the CRP is usually elevated after a surgery and they were not able to tell if it was good or bad. But my contact nurse was able to, and she told me that the value had doubled since they sent me home. So pack the go-bag again and head for the hospital.

During the Friday evening I crashed, fever of 39C and CRP of 185 before the antibiotics kicked in. Another CT scan to see what was going on. Evidently there was some liquid where my gallbladder used to be (I was unaware that they had removed it as well, they had told me but it jut did not register I guess).
So, new plan. Tuesday morning they will puncture and analyse the liquid. Fun! Now I start to get nervous for the first time.

Watched a lot of Olympics at the hospital, the antibiotics kicked in fast and from Saturday lunch I was walking and talking again and able to spend more time in the TV room then in bed. 
On Tuesday morning when they did the ultrasound (as a guide for the needle) the doctor just stated that she was 99% sure that the liquid was just blood. Second doctor was called in and she said the same thing. So no needle through the liver to puncture it.
During the day I received no further information, when the night nurses arrived they told me that the had called off the whole procedure and would probably send me home in the morning.
They did, but with 2 different antibiotic this time.
Surgical wounds after 16 days, when I was sent home the second time.
And this time it was nice to get home, no fever, able to sit better, easier to get out of bed. Pretty much everything work so much better.

On Friday I was able to go to a comedy show with my wife, we bought tickets in May last year... So really nice to actually be able to go and see Johan Glans even though i was holding back my laughter as evidently it hurts to laugh. It also hurts to sneeze and cough. But oh well, I guess that will get better over time as well.

In 2 weeks I will get the verdict of the analysis of the tumor and the game plan forward. Until then I will just be at home and take walks outside and try to slowly push my body forward. 


Why I am writing this? Not to feel sorry for myself, but as a way to handle the situation and hopefully someone else out there in a similar situation can find this helpful as well. The human body is strong and hopefully I'll come out of this stronger as well. Plan for the worst and hope for the best!

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