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Post Surgery

As I write this is is roughly a week and a half since I had my adrenalectomy to remove a tumor. The surgery was mostly a success, in that it accomplished the task of removing my adrenal gland. However, it turns out that there was nothing wrong with it and the tumor was only adjacent to it rather than growing out of it, but a person can live a normal life with only one gland, so it's okay that it's gone. The tumor itself was significantly more complex and slightly larger than appeared on the Contrast CT. It also grew along the vena cava to below the vein that feeds the kidney. Because of it's location it took far longer to remove than anticipated, originally we were told that it'd take about two hours, instead it took over four. Which needless to say, makes me very appreciative of general anesthetic. The surgeon wanted to keep me in the hospital for two nights rather than one, but relented when my bottom lip started to quiver, and let Ruth take me home—I don't think he wanted to watch a grown man cry. By far the worst problem I've had post-op has been a badly pulled muscle in my right butt cheek. I know it sounds a little ignoble, but after surgery I had tubes in 90% of my orifices, so right know I'm pretty mush beyond modesty. I don't know if it was because I'm so tall, the surgery took so long, or if the surgical staff was using my body to demonstrate advanced yoga positions, but the pulled muscle is one of the more painful injuries I've ever had. Also, the swelling appears to have taken it's toll on the nerves into my legs, it took five days for the feeling to fully return to my right foot, and even still, if I sit or lay wrong it goes numb.

The tumor itself was thought by Benefis to be a fibroneuroma. I was skeptical about this because those tumors are far more likely to occur in individuals with a certain genetic mutation (Joseph Merrick, a.k.a. the Elephant Man was probably a victim of this)—a different one than what I have. After the tissue sample results came back from whatever lab they sent it to, we found out that it was a ganglioneuroma. A rare little tongue twister of a tumor that is benign with a very low chance of becoming metastatic. It seems to be so rare that I've had difficulty finding out just how rare it is, I don't know if it is 1 in 1,000 rare or 1 in 1,000,000 rare, not that it really matters, except if it is the latter I'll feel that much more special. The other hitch with the surgery was that due to the complexity of the tumor that surgeon couldn't remove the entire thing. Slightly frustrating, in that that was the whole point of this to begin with, but we did at least find out it isn't dangerous, which was more important.

I have the staples out next Monday (Yay!), and then I'll have to have a CT scan in a year to make sure the bugger hasn't regrown.

Despite the pain, discomfort and expense, I feel like I've dodged a bullet. With a mutation like HNPCC sometimes it seems like life is just waiting around for the first cancer to strike. I don't really live waiting for cancer, but it is also never far out of mind, especially when doctors find unexpected masses in your abdomen. So, for now, despite some residual soreness, I'm healthy, happy, and cancer free.

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