surgery update


Well-Known Member
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.


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Community Sponsor
Kathy and Mike, it is just heartbreaking that you both have to go though this uncertainty. I too can't begin to imagine the stress level this is causing you both. Prayers for you both and may he give you the strenght to make the right decisions.


Forever Remembered
Kathy - I just sit here shaking my head. This has got to be terrifying, name it.

Mike and you continue in my prayers.


Well-Known Member
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.
Kathy, noone on this board knows this, but I went thru 20 "trying to save my life" and "we're not EXACTLY sure if this is going to work, but let's try it" surgeries from 10 yo up until I was in my early 30's. Don't forget, this was WAY BEFORE they had all the sophisticated tests they have now. Finally I found a dr. at NYU Medical Center and he said exactly what Mike's dr. said. I said, what the he**....and btw, all these surgeries were in my head very near my BRAIN. This last surgery was under LOCAL anesthetic and lasted almost 8 HOURS. And guess what? It worked!!! So never give up and always hope for the very best. I just really like what this dr. said to you because that is what mine said to me and he was right! :doubleup::clap: Prayers to both of you.


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Community Sponsor
Wish I could answer your question but I have no experience with this. I wish you both the best outcome and a speedy recovery for Mike.
Scary, scary stuff. I haven't had spinal surgery so I can't help with that. But five months ago I had surgery to remove a cancerous rectal tumor. When the surgeon told me that they were going to remove nearly two feet of my colon and the surgery would last anywhere from 4 - 6 hours and, and, and . . . I started to really worry even became a little panicky.

I quickly realized that I had a choice I either trusted my medical team or I didn't. Once I decided that, the rest became much easier.

The worry is always there but I worked very hard at ignoring it. When you get right down to it worrying is only going to increase stress which will not help with recovery.

Of course lots of prayer helped.


Senior Flea Coller Tester
I would have to echo what Karry and broberts said. You have to trust your medical team. This surgeon sounds like he believes in himself, which is so important. In one week Mike will be in capable hands, and hopefully looking forward to a better balance in the quality of his life. Prayers continue to give you and Mike strength to deal with this.


Well-Known Member
Kathy - You know that you & Mike are in my thoughts and prayers. I like the confidence of the surgeon and hope that when this is all said & done you will have some definitive answers.

I will check back again for further updates!