Part 1: Appendix Cancer Can Be a Paralyzing Diagnosis
After feeling tired for a couple months, in April 2012, Tim Wesley went to the doctors for what he thought was an ulcer.
"Upon further inspection with a small laparoscopic procedure, to make a couple slits in my belly area and to look around, was found a massive amount of cancer tumor that was coating the outside of all of my organs, including my stomach, my diaphragm, all my intestines, my spleen, gall bladder, colon, large intestine, rectum, everything inside that peritoneal cavity. That was the beginning of being diagnosed with colon cancer," said Tim Wesley, an appendix cancer survivor.
Tim was given 10 months to live.
"It was paralyzing. It was horrifying. I couldn't believe what was happening. To be told that Tim was going to be gone in such a short time and there was nothing I could do about it, to have two daughters to tell at eight and ten and to stand there and have the pressure of the world on your shoulders was the worst feeling ever," said Denise Wesley, Tim's wife.
The Wesley's decided to get a second opinion. It wasn't colon cancer. It was appendix cancer.
"The first doctor said that there wasn't anything they could do. The second surgeon said there was nothing he could do. We felt slightly defeated. But we spent some time in Baltimore and Pittsburgh and had a couple surgeons who were willing to take this on and take a chance," said Tim.
Tim had Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy or HIPEC surgery. First, doctors surgically opened the abdomen and cut out all the tumors. Then the cavity was filled with 8 to 10 times the dose of chemotherapy that can be given through an IV, then heated to 42 degrees Celsius, to kill any microscopic disease.
"I had a third of my stomach and a third of my diaphragm removed, along with all of my large intestine to include my colon. I lost about 16 or 17 feet of my small intestine. Your omentum, which is a cavity that has to do with the fat in your digestive system that was full of tumors and had to be removed, my spleen and my gall bladder were removed. I have a stomach and then about five or six feet of small intestine and then a little catch bag, so no connection between my top and bottom," Tim said.
Tim was cancer free but that wasn't the end of his challenges.