Journal entry by Bob Stromberg

As previously mentioned, the tumor in my liver was not responding to the chemo and continued to grow and was 7 cm (almost 3") at the last CAT scan on Jun 19.  The surgeon said there was a strong chance he could do it laparoscopically.  On Tuesday, July 16, I went in for a liver resection surgery to remove the right lobe of my liver and my gall bladder.  The tumor had grown more and was now softball sized.  But he was still able to perform the surgery laparoscopically.  He also removed one lymph node which was swollen.  He made one incision for the surgical procedure, one for the camera and one to remove the liver and gall bladder.  The one to remove the liver and gall bladder was by far the largest, about 3".  I assume the organs and tumor are soft enough to squeeze through an opening smaller than the parts removed.  The stitches are internal (under the skin).  I don't know how they do that unless it is also performed laparoscopically.  Then they apply a piece of tape on the outside which will fall off in a week or two and the stitches will dissolve.

They are going to perform a biopsy on the liver and lymph node.  The results will be available in a week but my next appointment with the surgeon is Thursday, August 1 so I will not see the results until that time.  Then I go back to see the specialist in Lexington on Friday, August 2 to determine the next steps in my treatment.  I am pretty sure they are going to do more chemo based on the findings of the biopsy.  However, with tumor removed, I don't know how they will determine if the new chemo is effective.  There are a couple of small spots on my lungs which have grown but very little.  If they shrink, that would be good.

I was in a lot of pain the first two days.  The liver is just below the lungs and breathing in was painful.  I was up and walking the second day.  The worst part was getting out of bed.  Any use of my stomach muscles is very painful.  Each day got a little better and they released me from the hospital on Friday, July 19 around noon.  I am on restricted duty (no more than 10 or 20 lb).  I can eat or drink anything I want as long it does not bother me.  But no more than one or two drinks, which I never drink more than that anyway.

I went for a walk this morning around 8:30 before it got too hot.  It was already 80 degrees and very humid.  Supposed to get to mid-90s with temperature index in the 100s today and tomorrow.  I would like to go for several walks a day but likely will only get an early morning walk due to the heat.  The temperatures are supposed to break on Monday with some storms moving in and then high in the 80s after that.

Overall, the surgery was very successful and recovery is going very well.  Thanks for all of your prayers and keep them going.  I am convinced they are making all the difference between a good outcome and a poor outcome.

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