Surgeon Says No

Today was the big meeting with the surgical oncologist at UMC.  I’d like to say that he had some brilliant plan and I was amazed by him…


The appointment started with a medical student asking about my patient history.  She was nice enough, but when you’re expecting some super awesome surgeon, it’s disappointing to be met with someone that almost forgets to do a physical assessment.  Much like others around me, she was impressed that I still work, am going to school and living as if I am healthy.  I keep trying to remind people that except for the mild back pain and the vomiting, I really am pretty healthy.  I wouldn’t know I had cancer had it not been found.

It took another twenty minutes or so before Dr. Ong made his entrance.  My first thoughts: where is the real doctor, this guy is just way too young to be a surgeon.  Seriously, Milo and I guesstimate that he was in his late thirties.  Given how well known he is and the fact he is a surgeon, this man is the Asian Doogie Howser.  It’s really odd to have a doctor not much older than you telling you what plans he has for your life.

Unfortunately, this one didn’t exactly have plans.  He told me he won’t do surgery; it would take away from the good quality of life I have right now.  He also said that he can’t predict how long I will live because cholangiocarcinoma doesn’t respond like other tumors.  He recommended bringing my case to their hepatobiliary cancer team and seeing if anyone else had any ideas on treatment options.  His final word was that he wouldn’t cut until it was necessary and that no surgeon was going to go after the tumors in my chest.  My tumors are a death sentence.

I was pretty devastated.

I’m still pretty devastated.

Milo and I are going to start working out what to do from here.  In two weeks we’ll know what the medical committee has to say about treatment options and prolonging my life.  I am trying not to give up hope, but I feel as if it’s all rather bleak right now.  I’m too late to be saved is something I hear a lot of.  If only it was a different type of tumor…

If only.


12 thoughts on “Surgeon Says No

  1. Deb says:

    My prayers remain with you and Milo. In the meantime what would you really like to be doing right now…go do it!!! Love you dear

  2. Maret says:

    I am so so Sorry Janine!! I know it is hard an you will get though this!!! Have you tried Cancer treatment of America?

  3. Teresa says:

    Hi. I learned of your blog by doing some internet search. I try to keep up because my sister had the same type of cancer. I cannot tell you how my heart breaks for you. I was in the room when my sister got the exact same news. I feel like I am reliving that nightmare. I pray for your strength and am grateful you have a wonderful husband. I would love to be of any help or comfort that I can if you needed someone to talk to who has been through this. My sister was my very best and dearest person in my left. My email address is Again…I’m very sorry. Fight like you have never fought before and NEVER EVER give up!!! My sister asked me one day … Am I going to die from this? I told her we are all going to die…she just knows from what and approximately when. The rest of us don’t. I know I will be with her again some day and I know I cannot wait for that glorious day!!!! I love your blog and your spirit!

    • janined23 says:

      I am truly sorry about your sister. I am definitely open to talking, especially with someone who has gone through the same experience. It’s grueling and the support I have received from friends, family and even strangers has been such a comfort 🙂

  4. exiledtyke says:

    I can only begin to guess at how this news left you and Milo feeling and devastated is the inadequate word which comes to mind. I just want to reach out and smother you in a protective layer of love and good wishes. It’s a bit of a bugger when you are too healthy to have surgery for cancer!
    A wise man once said that, before we can say whether the glass is half empty or half full, we have to ask “empty of what?” and I guess right now yours is half full of cancer and half full of quality of life and Dr Ong thinks you should sup deeply of the quality of life before undergoing the surgery – he does think there will be an appropriate time for the surgery doesn’t he?
    Have you had chance to talk with Dr “Oh yeah!” Scully about Dr “Oh No” Ong’s opinion?

    • janined23 says:

      Dr. Ong made it appear as if surgery would be an option towards the end, but as a comfort measure. I have not gotten to speak with Dr. Scully just yet and may hold off until I hear what the hepatobiliary team suggests.

  5. I’m sorry you didn’t get better news from the surgeon. Hopefully the hepatobiliary team will be more encouraging.

  6. Debbie says:

    I am sorry Janine. I wish there was something I could do to take this horrible nightmare away from you. Jerry and I send you lots of love and prayers!

  7. aingel says:

    If it is something you truly believe in then it is certainly worth a try, right? It is never too late for anything.
    borrow from the local library or purchase on
    there is a link to book by a former cancer patient.
    in a world full of no and negativity, who couldn’t use a little positive encouragement and inspiration

    With aingel love and blessings for a return to good health,

  8. Elana says:

    Your strength, the love you and Milo share, and your courage are an inspiration to us all. You have us all in your corner supporting you, loving you, and wishing we could take all the pain and worry away. You will keep fighting, and we will do the same for you. Love you.

  9. River says:

    So sorry to hear that. I have no idea what that committee is or what it’s supposed to decide, but I hope that you get some good news soon.

  10. jdp64 says:

    I still believe in your miracle. Doctors can only guess at things (altho theyt are “educated” guesses. You are unique, and God loves you. Jesus will heal you, HE is the Great Physician.

    We will keep praying because you and Milo are all we have.

    Mom and Dad

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