Health Update: First Consult With Surgeon

For background: I had a pulmonary embolism in February 2023, as told in these articles: Part One, Part Two

The bleeding I had already scheduled a colonoscopy to look at (which was going to happen in May) got my colonoscopy moved up, and it happened last week as told here.

So, today I saw the in-system colorectal surgeon. It’s not great news.

We will certainly have to remove a length of my colon and intestine. I had hoped that would not be the case. But at least after this, I’ll have a whole new set of “I haven’t got the guts” puns available.

Ideally, I’d get reconnected during that surgery, but my blood supply may not allow it. Which would mean a (hopefully temporary) ostomy bag, but it may not be possible to reach through the fat of my abdomen to hook that up. We wouldn’t know if those could be done until in surgery, and if neither could there’s no good solution. Like, that might mean my death. So for those of you who have accused me of being full of shit, be aware that’s come back to bite me in the ass.

And the surgery really needs to be all-and-done within 2 months, which is not enough time for me to lose enough weight to change the odds on those. Also, the surgeon strongly feels the need for imaging — CAT scans and MRI — so we can determine what stage my cancer is at. So the various doctor’s offices are seeking a facility that can accommodate me. That may well not be in Oklahoma, which means a road trip… with a thrombosis (blood clot in leg), which would make such a trip slow (with frequent stops), and extra-exhausting.

So, yeah, the fact that I am more obese than the health care system is set up for may be the death of me. If so, prepare for a headstone with a giant raised middle finger on it.

These factors mean the surgeon in the health care system I’ve been using isn’t sure his team can handle my case. I may need to transfer my care to the OU health system, which has more facilities and colorectal surgeons. I am likely to be intubated after surgery and placed in an ICU, and OU has better options for that.

I have yet more doctor visits this week, including an oncologist, and after those my surgeon and PCP and oncologist will talk, and form a plan for next steps, which is very likely to include transferring my care to OU, which will mean another round of consultations. The good news is, I now have great excuses of getting out of anything else I don’t feel like doing this week. “Oh, I WOULD clean the gutters, but you know. Cancer. Maybe next week.”

Also, the ongoing need for blood thinners complicates things. The surgeon also made it clear no matter what we do, the process will be “pretty high risk,” which obviously isn’t good news. I remain in high spirits, but admit that weighs on me. But I’m a gamer, I know the odds aren’t everything. I’ve rolled a crit when I needed it before, I’m not giving up on the idea I will again.

I’ll continue to update as new info comes in.

Methods of Support

A number of folks have asked about helping me cover my medical expenses as I recover from my pulmonary embolism, and prepare to battle my cancer. While I’ll do a GoFundMe if I absolutely have to, and expect there to be more product bundles to raise funds come April, the main way to support me right now is to join (or increase your pledge level) at my Patreon, or make a direct contribution at my Ko-Fi.

Thanks, folks.



About Owen K.C. Stephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at

Posted on March 20, 2023, in Health and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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