Cancer is confusing stuff as you have to deal with a lot of services, appointments, worry, and social aspects (what to tell spouse, kids, relatives, coworkers, etc.). I think that you would have been a lot better off coming here and asking when you were diagnosed but that's in the past.
I went to a local hospital with a lot of blood in the toilet and they did a scan and then a Colonoscopy and biopsy and it was cancer with three suspicious lymph nodes. So you're in better shape than I'm in, probably Stage 3A (not sure if tumor size could change that). My GI guy contacted the oncologist and the oncologist contacted the radiation guy. The oncologist and radiation guy meet weekly in a "board meeting" to discuss patients. Several people recommended me getting a second opinion and we had Mass General Hospital (#12 nationally) and Dana Farber Cancer Institute (#4 nationally) an hour away. So I setup second opinion appointments for oncology and radiation and an appointment with a Board Certified Colorectal Surgeon. It took me two weeks to setup the appointment and that was frustrating. I found out why they are so hard to get a hold of - they do an incredible volume of patients. I could generally get an appointment with local doctors on short notice.
The DFCI oncologist and radiation doctors agreed with the local doctors so I used the local doctors for Oncology and Radiation and that went well. I believe that the surgeon asked me to call her office about a week after chemo and radiation ended to schedule an MRI for surgical and pathology purposes. The surgery was then about 6 or 7 weeks later. If you have a top cancer hospital available (and it sounds like you do), then I'd at least get second opinions from them. If you feel that your local hospital or doctors aren't up to the job, then you could look for another hospital if there are services locally. I have a relative of a brother-in-law that died because of treatment issues. She eventually did try going to Dana Farber but by then it was too late. Something that should have been treatable turned out badly.
You need to keep all of the information around and communicate it to your doctors when you go to see them. The hospitals that I use are on EPIC (major Electronic Medical Records software) so they can see my results across hospitals but I kept a lot of information (contacts, labs, etc.) on my phone so that I could provide information to doctors and others should they need them. Communication amount doctors, nurses, etc. isn't always smooth and it's in your best interest that your team be informed. Get to know your hospital portal(s) so that you can retrieve test results, appointment information and communications with your doctors in a timely manner.
I think that your GP is just looking out for you in suggesting a second opinion. I just saw a 2009 paper comparing open to laparoscopic and open was 2-4% less recurrence than laparoscopic. I had expected laparoscopic as so many people get it but my surgeon did open surgery. I asked why afterwards and she said that I had a narrow pelvis which would make laparoscopic more difficult. I'd guess that recovery would be faster and easier with laparoscopic but I'm sure that my surgeon made the best decision for me. Your GP also might be suggesting that you might get a better surgeon at Stanford - it's hard to tell. Getting a second opinion generally isn't a bad thing unless it's too challenging to arrange. You could also just discuss laparoscopic vs open with your GI surgeon. Has he/she already seen your scans to plan the surgery?
BTW, my story is at viewtopic.php?f=1&t=58447&start=405
and it's incredibly long and verbose but it's what I went through. Lots of others document their process and progress here. And you can always ask questions. We know what you're going through as we're going through it or have gone through it or we're going through it with loved ones.
Your cancer is pretty high up from the AV so hopefully that means good functioning after your reversal if you get an ileostomy. So you could be Stage II or IIIA - overall not the worst of places to be with cancer.
If cost isn't an issue, then you might consider Genomic Tumor testing to see exactly what gene mutation you have.
Learning Curve: The Surgeon as a Prognostic Factor in Colorectal Cancer Surgeryhttp://eknygos.lsmuni.lt/springer/404/86-104.pdf
Thirteen consultants, none of whom had a special interest in colorectal surgery, operated on 645 patients with colorectal cancer. Outcome differed tremendously between the individual surgeons. The rate of curative resection varied from 40% to 76%, postoperative mortality from 0% to 20%, local recurrence from 0% to 21%, anastomotic leakage from 0% to 25%, and survival at 10 years from 20% to 63%. These important differences in outcome were not entirely explained by differences in patient population (case-mix, e.g., more advanced tumor stage). The existence of a significant inter-surgeon variability was hereby proven. The individual surgeon was later identified as an independent prognostic factor for the frequency of locoregional recurrence and survival in rectal cancer patients by applying multiple logistic regression analysis adjusting for case mix differences (Hermanek et al. 1995). A great number of publications followed, investigating the prognostic role of the surgeon as well as of surgeon- and hospital-related factors (e.g., board certification, subspecialty training, annual caseload, teaching status). Most tumor-related, patient-related, and treatment-related predictors of outcome cannot be altered. The majority of surgeon- and hospital-related factors, however, can be influenced positively. Herein lies great promise, since an enhancement of surgeon and hospital related factors will lead to a significant improvement in the patient’s outcome.