Another long day in Iowa City. First of all, he said he believes there are 2 different things going on: the pain/mobility issue of the lower spine & the area at T-11 that is possible cancer. It appears that in complaining about the lower back pain, our drs at home did the MRI & discovered, by accident, the possible cancer up above. He has another dr lined up to address the issues in the lower spine which appears to be severe arthritis & severe degenerative disc disease. That said, even that doesn't look "normal" compared to other patients. There are meds to help with stiffness, etc but the Crohn's & lymphoma complicate things. There may be problems getting meds that don't act against each other. He said this case of the spine is like nothing they have ever seen & is 1 for the text books. The spinal surgeon met with us for over 90 mins. He showed us all of the films that have been taken & pointed out the areas of concern. The biggest area of concern is at T-11. However, something is now starting to show up 3,4, & 5 which is cause for more concern. If this is not cancer, they have NO idea what this could be. The surgery is serious. Going in thru the back (not the front as previously told to us) will still be quite an ordeal & is expected to take at least 3hrs & possibly 4. All surgery carries risks but when you get near the spinal cord there are additional risks & he went thru all of them from paralysis to death. For the paralysis he said they have a way to monitor everything happening with the spinal cord but there are no guarantees. Mike was getting a little nervous with all of the description so dr said he would no go into further detail of the exact procedure but did say that what he was going to do to the spine is, & I quote here, brutal. Depending on how much he has to do in the spine to get what pathology needs, he could be layed up for a little over a wk to as much as 6wks for full recovery. There is a possibility we could get results right away. He said he will be working closely with the pathologist; he will freeze sections which will immediately be put under a microscope. He said they will continue to do slides from different areas until pathologist is satisfied. They will also do slides that have to grow over a number of days. Dr said he knows this is scary for us but this is his job--he does this every day & says he is very good at his job. Dr said it was not his job to "talk" us into this surgery but he reviewing all of Mike's records he understand lymphoma dr's concern. It is possible he could go thru all of this and it won't be cancer or he could go thru all of this & there is a possibility we still won't get a definite diagnosis. If cancer, the sooner the treatment the better. They have re-scheduled the surgery from this Thurs to next Thurs. They did some work up today but want to do some additional tests next wk. We are scared to do it & we are scared not to do it. Mike is really getting terrified the more he sits here tonight & thinks about it. Knowing what happened to us a yr ago with that non-diagnostic tumor in the gut that a few months later was wide spread terrifies me. If anyone here has ever experienced surgery on their spine, some feed back would be appreciated. I kind of wish the surgery was this wk instead of next because I'm afraid the anxiety is just going to build. This with spine has been such a long journey. I'm hoping it will soon be over with a real answer. Another update when this is all behind us.