Sorry I just got around to reading this thread. You've already been informed that T2/T3 are not the same as stage II/III....here is a link to the ACS page that should clear some things up and help you with other questions you may have.http://www.cancer.org/cancer/colonandre ... cer-staged
Next, you shouldn't feel that you must go to MD Anderson for surgery when likely as not you have some equally qualified surgeons in your own back yard. I think you indicated in one of your posts that you would be seeking an opinion from the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center so you must be in the Denver area somewhere....is that correct? I know oftentimes people feel that with cancer you MUST go to the highly renowned cancer centers but honestly, you shouldn't feel as though you need to travel, particularly if your husband is a stage I (T2N0M0). The most important thing with rectal cancer is to have a board certified colon and rectal surgeon do the surgery as opposed to a general surgeon who can also do the surgery. Here is a link to verify a surgeon's credentials.http://www.abcrs.org/verify-a-physician-2/
Let me also clarify another part of the treatment plan. Stage I patients RARELY get neoadjuvant chemoradiation (chemoradiation prior to surgery). The risk v benefit just isn't worth it. In addition, 'most' rectal cancer patients who don't receive neoadjuvant chemoradiation don't have to have a temp ileostomy. Radiated tissue is much more difficult to work with and takes a lot longer to heal - hence the reason why those receiving radiation prior to surgery almost always have the temp ileostomy.
Surgery is going to be difficult and there will be follow ups with the surgeon to consider. I don't know exactly where you live but, in an relatively uncomplicated case, you seriously can consider having surgery closer to home. It would make things much easier on both you and your husband. I realize that when you're hit with the diagnosis of cancer....it is frightening and you only want the best. That doesn't mean, however, that you need to travel to find a good surgeon. Assuming I am correct and you are in the Denver area (or if a major metropolitan area is closer) it is not necessary to travel to have surgery for an uncomplicated case of rectal cancer (particulary a stage I/II or even a stage III).
I'm also not sure why someone told you that a tumor 6 inches into the rectum (rarely do the surgeons use inches - perhaps it was 6 cm??) is in a difficult place. 6 inches or 6 cm in is definitely NOT considered to be difficult. I'm not saying you shouldn't go to MD Anderson if that truly is what you want to do but.....don't rule out a qualified colon/rectal surgeon (check the link) just because he/she doesn't practice at some place like Sloan or MD Anderson. As you can see from my signature, my surgery was 6 years ago, and like your husband, I was initially diagnosed, by the GI doc with a T3 tumor making me a stage II. The surgeon, however, after looking at the ultrasound images disagreed and staged me as a T2 (which, btw, would have meant that I was truly a stage I all along). In my case, that was done months later and I had already gone through the chemoradiation. BTW - an ultrasound for rectal cancer is standard for staging.