The Whole Thing – chapter 3

I met with Dr. Ganser, Cardio-Thoracic surgeon, (aka That Rib Guy) 2 days after receiving the disturbing scan result. His plan was to take the rib out. The WHOLE THING…. ALL OF #9 would be gone. Not just the part of the rib with the tumor in it or just the back portion but the whole thing! and of course, in typical Shelby fashion, I asked  a lot of questions-

  • Why couldn’t we just BX (biopsy) the lesion first? It’s possible it could be a benign growth. That could be an option but even if it is a benign lesion, you would still have the pain. It’s best for it to go.
  • If it’s taken out, what goes in it’s place? Cement, Caulking, my friend has bones showing up in his yard, can we use one of them? No, #’s 8 and 10 would be sewn together to maintain structure of the rib cage.  (I swear he thought I was nuts with that one)
  • How much of my Lattimus and Intercostal muscles will be cut? I will try to avoid cutting your Lat but all of the small Intercostal muscles between # 8, 9 &10 will be separated from the ribs.  Those bones will be moved as they are sewn together to cover the gap left from # 9 being removed and those muscles will be re-approximated with the bones.
  • Complications? Collapsed lung and infection
  • recovery time? 6-8 weeks until strenuous activities can resume. You will be out of work for a couple weeks and a 2-3 night stay in the hospital.
  • Can I keep some of my rib once its removed? (he loves me by this point lol!) No, all of it needs to be biopsied. I’m sorry, he says with a smile.
  • Will this hurt?… and don’t play doctor with me, I mean is this going to HURT?   yes shelby. very much. this is a big surgery and you will be incredibly uncomfortable for weeks before you feel any better.


me – “you’re calling mom.”

Shauna – “nu-huh. You made me call her last time you were sick.”

me – “I am the oldest and you have to call mom. Just ask her if she’d like to visit a warmer climate for a couple weeks and slip in there “btw, shelby is having surgery”

Shauna – “yeah, that might work. I need to drink first… “

LOL!! Sis always makes me laugh 🙂

Surgery was scheduled for Monday March 24th. And Shauna, mom and I dissected the country of family members to call and what to say. We all agreed to be positive because I would have it no other way. It still could very well be a benign growth but If it’s Metastatic Breast Cancer or a new Bone Cancer, then I’ll deal with it then.