Last Thursday, September 1st, was seven years since I was diagnosed with cancer. It was a day that I tried very hard to remember what life was like before cancer – and I couldn’t do it. Seven years isn’t a long time compared to the 33 I have been alive, but time is such a funny thing and it feels like cancer has always been a part of our lives.
But more importantly, it was a day that I again felt so incredibly blessed and fortunate to be here. And not just that I’m here, but that I feel well, my family is healthy, and that I get to enjoy life with the people I love. A day where cancer did not control a single thing.
September 2nd was back to the reality that there is more in store for us in this cancer journey. We went to UNMC for blood work and a CT Scan. We then met with the endocrinologist who confirmed that tumors had remained stable. My thyroid hormone levels were normal (I wondered why I had been feeling so good), so she increased my dosage (with an apology) so my thyroid levels would go back to hyper and it would keep the cancer from growing. She reiterated that surgery seemed like a reasonable next step to remove the tumors along the right side of my neck, but would defer to the surgeon to get his input.
We head to Methodist next, and head in to our appointment with my surgeon (he’s still the same surgeon I had at UNMC, he’s just at Methodist now). He performs an ultrasound on my neck and again verifies that there are two areas in my neck, along the upper right side, that he could go in and operate and remove the chain of lymph nodes, thus removing the cancer. He says that it would be an entirely new incision, not going through the same scar in my central neck. He said this as I would maybe be disappointed in a second scar, but really, if it means the cancer can be gone and he stays away from my vocal chords, the second scar is the LEAST of my worries. I never planned on a neck modeling career anyway 😉
There is still an area in my central neck, where my thyroid used to be, that they have always monitored. It’s not in an area that could be biopsied, and it would be extremely hard to go in surgically and remove it without doing damage to vocal chords and my parathyroid glands. But this area looked less suspicious at this appointment, and both doctors agreed that it would be find to leave it alone and it’s more than likely scar tissue from previous surgeries. This was definitely good news!
So here we are again – heading into my fourth surgery, one that I am trying to not set up ANY expectations, but at the same time, am so hopeful that soon I can say I’m cancer free.
Surgery will be October 5. Prayers for complete removal of all the cancer are greatly appreciated. It’s an emotional decision, as it is so awesome to be doing something to get the cancer out, but at the same time, disrupting our normal to deal with trips to Omaha, recovering from surgery, and all the follow-up appointments to go to – all while juggling 4 kids now, 3 of which are in school, are some added stressors that we didn’t have 6 years ago at my last surgery. Not to mention having kids old enough to now be worried about mom…
I keep coming back to a realization I had a few years ago that I think I have shared before. When I was first going through treatment, I rarely prayed for my own healing…telling myself that my life still wasn’t that bad and that God should focus on those who were in really dire situations. Although, I knew deep down that God loved me and cared for me, and was infinitely capable for handling my petitions as well as everyone else’s.
I then realized I neglected praying for my own healing because I didn’t want to be disappointed if I wasn’t healed – because there has been so much disappointment along the way. And with this realization, I knew that deep down I wasn’t trusting God, because if I was trusting Him, I wouldn’t be afraid to pray to be cured.
And I have felt that this was the lesson I was supposed to learn – to trust God. I sometimes wish He would have picked an easier way to teach me, but I also am so thankful I learned in a big way that I need to completely surrender to His will and TRUST.
God bless you all that have read this far (phew, almost to the end!), and I thank you so much for the prayers and support, and please know that you all have mine as well.