Andrea...you said it yourself. You CAN'T be staged until surgery. There is NO indication that the cancerous cells in the tip/head of the polyp have spread to the colon wall. So, HOW can you claim that you are stage I? You are confusing this haggit 1 with stage I and/or T1. Again, they are NOT the same.
Where do you get this from?
Also want to add that all other polyps are considered level 4 at minimum.
Andrea....STOP. Again, you can't be staged until surgery and there is NO WAY that you could have been told that you have a T1 'tumor' because the colon wall hasn't been examined. The person online that you referenced in the link only had a 1.5mm clean margin.....same as .15 cm.....and you said that your stalk...all of which was clean was 2.0 cm. Now, look at the difference in clean margins between .15cm (not a good enough margin) and 2 cm (considered normal).
You can spend all day/night trying to justify this or that...what should you do/not do....but it truly does seem as though you want to have surgery. Then HAVE the surgery. To answer your question...there is no 100% guarantee that if they take 20 nodes out that there is still one left in that might be cancerous. That's the thing with cancer. There are no guarantees.
Sorry if this sounds blunt, but you are overfocused (if that is such a word) on cancer. You've got a doctor whom you claim has something like 40 years of experience yet you don't trust him when he tells you you don't need surgery. BTW - you are totally wrong that the only way a cancer can spread is via the lymph system. Sure, it's one of the ways, but cancer can also spread via the vascular (blood) system. Someone could have the doc take out 20, 25 or 30 nodes....all of which are negative....and still have cancer spread via the bloodstream. Cancer is about statistics....pure and simple....and again, there is NO GUARANTEE. Go for the surgery for the less than 1% risk but be prepared for very real potential problems from having a significant part of your descending colon removed. Just because surgeons can remove the colon and you can live without it, doesn't necessarily mean you want to. Sure, you want to remove the colon in cases where cancer has definitely invaded the wall of the colon, but you need to be aware that while you won't have LAR syndrome (you wouldn't because you wouldn't be having an LAR), removing the lower part of one's intestine causes issues. The descending colon is where fecal matter is stored up before entering the sigmoid/rectum and where the last of the water is absorbed to form more solid stool.
Again, Andrea....you just have to decide what is best for you. If having the surgery will calm you down...then do it. If you have any reservations....then don't do it. Just count yourself lucky that the cancer apparently never reached the colon wall....or you wouldn't have any choice.