I just wanted to say thanks once again to everyone who has posted with your advice and feedback, I really appreciate it. I have made a decision of sorts, I am basically not prepared to sign up for the APR at this stage. I am only 8 weeks post-CRT and I know it can be done at 12 weeks (or later if necessary), so I am not going to be pushed into making that decision now.
I have decided that I want to give myself every chance of avoiding the surgery, so I will talk to the surgeon about excision/biopsy as a number of have you suggested. If the examination shows no remnants of any tumour and the biopsy comes back clear, then I will proceed down the 'non-operative' path.
I expect I will still have chemo (as this was part of original plan, based on initial staging) but I will discuss this with the surgeon tomorrow, along with the protocol for follow-up scans etc.
I am at peace with this decision. I will deal with any setback if it arises but it is a case of only crossing that bridge if I come to it. For now, I am feeling fit and healthy, have 'no detectable disease' and i am choosing to focus on remaining that way.
By the way, I found a number of videos on YouTube which were uploaded from the 2014 St Gallen Gastrointestinal Cancer Conference which took place only last week (!) in Switzerland. They seem to have uploaded every speaker presentation, so there is a huge wealth of expert information available: http://web.oncoletter.ch/kongressberich ... -2014.html
You can either go to Youtube and search for user "oncoletter" and check their most recently uploaded videos - or go to website above and then click on each session to view all of the speaker presentations directly.
I was obviously most interested in Angelita Habr-Gama's presentation as part of Session 6 and this helped me come to my decision (although she has a strong accent and I didn't understand every word!) but there are a lot of fascinating talks.
Hopefully this information will help some of you as much as it helped me