Endoscopes and CT controlled biopsies

Two procedures this week (neither of which I can recommend!) followed by even worse news.

Starting with the endoscope – after they had administered the local anaesthetic and got me in the very uncomfortable posiiton required for this procedure, the surgeon the took 10 minutes to replace the newly installed canula, which he had taken a dislike to. He then tried for a while to start the procedure install the stent before abanding the process as the Pancreas area was to decayed.

Next decision was to take a biopsy of a lymph node on the back of my lung to check whether the cancer had spread to this inoperable location. This involves lying on your front on the (hard and narrow) CT scanner table while they mark out a target on your back and gradually insert a long “needle” into your back checking at each step with another CT scan. This goes on for about 1/2 hour, with continual command to hold your breath.

Eventually you are told that it is vital that ou hold your breath, just before they press a button and take a tissue sample. I defy anyone to hold still while being stabbed in the lung. Finally they remove the “needle” and administer yet another CT scan to check whether the lung is OK – of course it had partially collpased, for good measure.

At the end of the week, they came up with the result – there was inoperable cancer in the lymph node, and hence no point in considering an operation to remove the cancerous pancreas. All they could offer was a “lesser” (I niaively thought small) operation to perform a double bile duct bypass, giving me an estimated 8-12 month life expectancy. Let out of hospital to return (confusingly) to the day surgery unit next Wednesday.



After a week of testing out the Ultarsound, MRI and CT scanners at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary,I got the bad news that I have Pancreatic cancer where the enlarged pancreas is squeezing the bile duct and hence the jaundice. They’ve let me home for the weekend to digest this news and then I go back in next week so they can try and install a stent via an endoscope.