Hi everyone, I wanted to give an overview of my recent surgery at MSK, which included installation of the HAI pump. This will be a long post, but I want to give as much information as possible. I've broken it into sections to hopefully make it easier to read.
My surgery was for both liver resection and HAI pump installation. Implanting the HAI pump also involves removing the gall bladder. I was in the hospital for five days.About The Pump
Let me start by sharing information about the pump. I had feared that with Johnson & Johnson discontinuing the production of the pump that I, and other candidates for it, would never get one. Fortunately that is not the case! What they are doing now is using Medtronic pumps, and are in the process of training staff at all locations how to access it. (Link for more info on this pump: https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patie ... usion-pump
Surgery lasted about 3-4 hours, and afterwards they kept me in the recovery area until about 4 am, when they moved me into a room. My surgeon wasn't able to resect all my liver mets, so I will need another resection surgery at some point. However, he said that the ones he did resect had shrunken considerably from chemo, to the point that some of them were difficult to find! He also said he did not find any mets in the surrounding areas. This was great news, especially since after my first surgery, my hemicolectomy in March, multiple mets were found in the omentum and lymph nodes.Recovery
The first day after surgery they get you out of bed, and encourage you to walk as soon as you are able. Honestly, it hurt a lot, though the pain meds do help. I had a little handheld device with a button that was connected to my drip that I could press whenever I wanted more meds, I believe it was every 15 minutes I could press it. (You can't overdo it, if you press it too much it basically locks you out and then disperses the meds based on the appropriate time frame.) After a few days they take you off that and give you meds in pill form.
My belly was quite swollen with fluids after the surgery, but not terribly - I gained about 6 pounds of fluid that gradually decreased each day. My appetite was non-existent for the first few days and slowly improved. MSK has surprisingly good food for a hospital as well, I'm vegan and I was impressed that I had quite a few options on their menu! It's room service, so you call and order whenever you want. Your family can also bring food from home for you and the nurses will put it in the fridge for you (just made sure it's labeled!).Pump Study
Three days after surgery they took me for a pump study - first they took me to a room with a huge machine that took multiple pictures which I believe was to check placement of the pump, then they access the pump (I was told I was the fifth person they've accessed with this pump so far!), then they take you to another room for a CT scan via a machine that goes around the whole abdomen. During the pump access portion, I was terrified - they told me initially accessing it is a little trickier with this one, but they got it on the first shot. The whole time there was another Dr. there who was providing support and reassurance, which was wonderful for me and helped a lot.
A few hours after the study a nurse from chemo came to my room and filled my pump with saline and heparin. She also coded it into an electronic device that it was filled and how much it was filled with (20cc). Both times the pump was accessed, I did feel the pinch of the needle, but the worse of it was whenever they pressed on my belly since it was so sore and tender from surgery. Surgeon and MSK
My surgeon, Dr. D'Angelica, was amazing, both before and after the surgery. My husband said that when surgery was done, he and my mom were taken to a private room where they had to wait for about 20 minutes (nerve-wracking!), and as soon as Dr. D'Angelica walked in he immediately told them everything went great. He then spent a lot of time with them going over everything and answering any questions they had.
The procedure was done a week ago and I am still in pain, quite a bit to be honest, but it's manageable. The abdominal swelling is minimal now. I am someone who hates taking pain meds but I am taking them now and will be for at least several more days if not longer. I'm continuing to walk as much as I can - it's difficult and though I can lay down flat, can't stand straight yet. What I try to do is take my meds (10 mg oxycodone), walk for a bit once they've kicked in, then rest.
This is the most difficult surgery I've had yet, and my most challenging recovery. My pump was implanted on the left side and I feel more pain there, and have to be careful of how I move. But the experience at MSK was wonderful. Everyone there really does care, the doctors, the surgeons, the nurses, everyone. I can't say enough good things about them, they are all truly amazing.