Yesterday Feb. 10th was the one year anniversary of my ruptured appendix. A year later I finally received some hope and some answers. It will not come easy and will require me to go through a nine hour operation with up to a 3 week stay in the hospital . I went to Froedtert on Feb. 10th and gave 3 tests- dexa scan- to check my bone density and possible side effects from over exposure to steroids; An ultra sound to look at my kidneys and bladder, and my 5th CT scan of the year. I then met with my oncologist doctor Sam Pappas at 3:00pm. The previous 4 CT scans showed no change in my abdomen or my spleen which is filled with cysts too numerous to count. Over 30 oncologists at University of Wisconsin and specialists have never seen a spleen like mine. This 5th CT scan shows that my spleen is growing and changing in size. Doctor Pappas showed me the comparison of the previous scan and I could see the difference. He could also see mucus outside of the spleen.
What has happened is that when my appendix ruptured there was a tumor inside of it that spewed it's micro-organisms throughout my peritoneal cavity (my guts) and has started to grow new tumors and also effected my kidneys and spleen. My tumor was labeled a mucinous cystadenoma. The name of this rare appendix cancer is called Pseudomyxoma Peritonei. PMP for short. Fortunately I do not have the more aggressive tumor that can metastasize (SPREAD) to soft organs outside of the peritoneal. I have the low grade malignancy, low grade cancer. As most of you know, I have just completed my 6 month immuneosuppressant treatment of steroids for 30 days, followed by chemo for 30 days, repeating until my 6 months was over. This was for my kidney disease which yielded poor results. It did not work seeing as how my doctors did not know I had PMP. What this treatment did do was it create the perfect environment for PMP to spread throughout my peritoneal cavity because of my immune system, which unable to stop the disease.
For this reason, Doctor Pappas wants to perform the cytoreduction surgery asap. I am schedule to have the surgery MARCH 9th, 27 days from now! It has been a blessing that my rare condition has put me into the hands of the very best doctors. PMP has effected my kidneys and again, no one has seen a spleen like mine (3 times larger than normal.) Doctor Pappas is a personal friend and has worked with the pioneering doctor of PMP, Dr. Sugarbaker. Dr. Pappas also did his studies at University of Pittsburgh and has worked with Dr. Holzmann, another leader in PMP. The good news is, when all the PMP is removed, there is a very good chance my kidneys will come around and work properly! Dare to dream! During the operation, my spleen, gall bladder, and possibly my left kidney will be removed.
I recently met a friend, Dan, who just had the cytoreduction surgery done in Houston, TX. He is back home in Sheboygan doing well. Dan has some great links and some very gross pictures of PMP surgery being performed on the bottom right side of his blog. I would love to add that to my blog, but it is way beyond my computer abilities. (I will have to consult my genius daughter, Mallory.) If you care of read more about appendix cancer and the chemo wash (hipec) that I will have done, his blog is www.oncoloblogy.com. He has been a great help to me; not sure yet how I can return the favor.
I had to wait about an hour and a half in the area of the cancer clinic called "Faith Quadrant," because my tests were completed. As I sat waiting to be called, there was a lady also waiting who I saw was crying and must have been Catholic, because she was holding and caressing Rosary beads. My whole life up until my illness has always been a game to me. Always concerned about enjoying life and having fun. I was blind to everything else going on. I tell you I will never be that person again. On the wall of the faith clinic, there is a quote. "Take that first step in faith.. you do not need to see the whole staircase.. just the first step." - Martin Luther King Jr.
Just letting you know I am well on my way up that staircase.