The Next Step
Well, here we are — just about 12 hours before I undergo what sounds to most people to be a pretty harrowing procedure. Over the course of as many as 10 hours, my surgeon will cut down the length of my abdomen, methodically remove as much of the diseased peritoneum as possible — as well as any other diseased tissue or non-essential organs as can be removed without significantly dampening my quality of life. Then my abdominal cavity will be filled with a heated chemo solution that will circulate through my abdomen for up to two hours. Once drained, the doctors will stich me back up and I’ll be ready to begin a short stay in the ICU, followed by as many as two weeks in the hospital’s general ward.
Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy it’s called. HIPEC, for short. Though it’s most definitely a maximally invasive procedure — one that will require some 6-8 weeks of recovery once I’m discharged — it represents the most aggressive treatment available to me. There is some amount of debate within the oncology community about HIPEC, but after a few months of researching the procedure and its results, along with consultation with my medical team and close family and friends, we decided that I was as ideal a case as there can be for HIPEC. The procedure gives me what I believe to be my best chance at long-term survival and all I can do now is be strong and hope that the short-term costs will be outweighed by the long-term benefits.
Poop strong, my friends. Poop strong.
UPDATE: Here‘s a news story featuring my surgeon describing the procedure.