April 21, 2011 at 12:03 am #503732coupeParticipant
First, please accept my apology for having been absent for awhile. A combination of being mostly in the hospital since the end of Feb. and trying to deal with the loss of several CC friends (Teddy, Kris, Dave Graff to name a few) has kept me away.
Some may recall that at the end of Aug. I had a drain tube removed which had been in place for eleven months with high hopes that this would put an end to the recurring bouts of cholangitis. I did real well for nearly 2-1/2 months but in early Nov. ended up in the hospital with yet another infection. Then again in Dec., Jan., and Feb. and from the end of Feb. I was sick all of the time and spent most of Mar. in the hospital. While in the hospital in Mar. I went into sepsis. They spent 2-1/2 hours in ICU working on me to get me stable and I spent two days in ICU. So where’s the good news? Well, I met a surgeon by the name of Lawrence Koep who came to visit with Donna and I in my room. He spent an hour asking questions and listening to my story. He said “Well, you can’t go on living like this”. “I don’t know what it is going to look like yet but we are going to fix this”. This was the first good news Donna and I had heard. My Seattle doctors (we’re in Phoenix right now) didn’t have an answer. One said that they could resect the left lobe without explaining how that would help. While they had me in the hospital (Banner Good Samaritan) they spent two weeks looking at all of my records, previous surgical notes, performing new tests and having conversations with my Seattle docs. At this time, Dr. Koep and his team were looking at my case from all angles trying to find the right solution. They finally decided that they could re-do the surgery from fourteen years ago with a good degree of a successful outcome. My original surgeon said that it couldn’t be done. On Mar. 31, they opened me up along the long original scar,removed a bunch of stones from both the left lobe and right lobe of my liver, removed a fair amount of scar tissue from the original radiation treatment, resected the original anastimoses to get clean tissue to work with and made a new connection between my liver and the jejunum. The doc says that the surgery went better than expected. He admitted to Donna that he was very relieved to find no cancer though he had dismissed cancer in our discussions. He later said that the symptoms indicated cancer though the tests couldn’t find any. I am home today SLOWLY recovering. It has been a tough one but the outlook is good.
As an aside, after our first meeting with Dr. Koep, Donna and I could clearly see the hand of the Living God in the process. We had come to the Phoenix area two years ago to find a winter home ( so we thought) when in fact we had been directed here to meet Dr. Koep. You see, there was a certain unspoken inevitability in these cholangitis attacks. It was never going to end well. There is a very high risk of sepsis which we have been told is fatal in about 50% of the cases. I have had sepsis three times – do the math. As Dr. Koep told two of my sons during a consultation before surgery when they asked about the risk of the surgery, the real risk was doing nothing. He told them that if he didn’t do something they would watch their Dad die. This could be my second miracle. Thank you God – may my life be pleasing to You my Lord…
Thank you CC friends for allowing me to tell my story. May God bless all of you and give you peace.
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