January 24, 2011

Peter Mac

I have chosen to have my surgery and any chemotherapy I need at The Peter MacCallum Centre. This is Australia's only cancer dedicated hospital, and I'm lucky that it is only 5 km away in East Melbourne.

The surgery to remove my tumour is called an anterior resection. If my tumour was closer to my bot bot I would have needed some radiation therapy first to make the tumour smaller. Because I have about 30 cm of unaffected rectum below my tumour though they can go straight in and remove it.

The surgery, in a nutshell:

  • 3-4 hours long
  • 4 laparascopic entry points plus a further cut to remove the actual tumour and colon
  • 3-10 days in hospital
  • 4-6 weeks recovery

I've also been told I will need to visit their Familial Cancer Centre - because colorectal (colon + rectal) cancer is unusual in people under 40, let alone 28. The experts will want to work out if maybe something is up with my DNA and that's why I have this type of cancer at such a young age.


  1. thanks for starting this blog! it's helpful for everyone who wants to know how you're doing and wishes they could be there with you. really scary stuff. thanks for sharing.


  2. Update: The tumour was found to be larger than the first CAT scan showed. It has invaded the rectum which means I do need radiation and chemotherapy before surgery. Also, the size of the tumour means that key-hole surgery is not possible. Mine will be a nice big, long and open surgery.

  3. I am only up to here in my reading from the beginning, although I have read the most recent posts. A couple of questions.

    How long do they judge the surgery to take now? Will you be able to walk nearly immediately or will you be required to keep movement/pressure to a minimum for a couple of weeks?

  4. Hey Julie,

    Thanks for your question. The surgery will now be what is called an Ultra Low Anterior Resection, before it was just going to be an Anterior Resection. The Ultra Low refers to the fact that my rectum is now affected by the tumour.

    During pre-surgical consult I was told that the pace at which I get back on my feet will depend on me and how I cope with the surgery. The first step after this surgery is simply deep-breathing exercises over the first couple of days. Then you progress to sitting up, then sitting and turning, then getting off the bed.

    I'll be be able to tell you more in 2 weeks, but from what I know so far the rehab sounds slow and steady.

    In terms of pressure, my restrictions here will be limited by the ileostomy more than resection as any abdominal tension can cause problems with the stoma (see my latest post - Short-term Bum)