The surgeons at Florida Hospital in Tampa don’t like to look at scenarios through a binary lens. But, for cancer patient Lin Long, she really had only two options: her best option would save her life, but, could also kill her.
Last year, Logan noticed stomach pain and discomfort. Initially, she was diagnosed with walking pneumonia. But doctors wanted to find out exactly what was causing her symptoms so they sent her to the specialists at Florida Hospital. After a battery of tests, scans showed Logan had an 11 cm. left liver mass.
“I remember asking the doctor, what are my options here?” Logan recalled. “He said, ‘you have a year to live or you can have this risky surgery’ so there wasn’t a choice.’”
The surgery was also extremely risky. The cancerous tumor was large and located centrally. Surgeons had to remove blood vessels to remove the tumor and make sure not to hit a major vein running to Logan’s heart.
Dr. Iswanto Sucandy said they had to think of every possible scenario and what could go wrong to keep Logan alive.
“What if the tumor actually invaded the vein? What if we actually didn’t have enough liver left? What if, what if, what if?” Sucandy said. “This vein must stay. There is no option.”
“If you clip this vein?” ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska asked.
"Over. Patient is dead in about five minutes,” Sucandy replied.
Logan went through all of the emotions you would expect from that terrifying of a diagnosis. Her thoughts were with her three daughters, grandchildren and husband of nearly 50 years.
“Numb, I was in shock. We all were. The big thing was how to tell our daughters,” Logan said fighting back tears. “Made arrangements for things just in case. I am a firm believer that the power of prayer and my wonderful surgeons brought me through this very difficult time.”
Surgeon Alex Rosemurgy said he couldn’t sleep the night before the surgery. He knows too well how difficult his job can be. After nearly four hours, the tumor was safely removed.
“You would think it’s exhilarating, but it’s not, it’s relief,” Rosemurgy said. “I’ve cried so many nights all the way home thousands of times. It is only the relief of not having hurt somebody.”
Logan said she owes her life to Rosemurgy and Sucanday. She only had a year to live, and they gave her her life back.
“Every day that I wake up I am very grateful,” Logan said.
Logan only has 30 percent of her liver. Doctors said the liver is the only organ that regenerates and that is all she will need. Recent scans showed she is tumor and cancer free.
Doctors still haven’t pinpointed where the cancer originated from, but say it was not a type of cancer that typically originates in the liver.