This week is ending on a good note – or really, a GREAT note.  My surgeon called this afternoon with the pathology report results.

Before I reveal those (a little suspense…sorry!), I have to tell you why so the pathology report was so crucial.


Pre-surgery selfie – documenting my neck before the second scar.

My surgery was Wednesday morning at 7:30 am, and they told me it would take about an hour.  When I finally wake up and start looking around, I realize that it’s nearly 10:30am.  I wondered what had taken so long.

It wasn’t too long after waking up my family is able to come into the room, and they tell me about what the surgeon had told them after he was done with my surgery.  The two lymph nodes they had been watching were removed and he was fairly certain he got clear margins and minimal affect to the nerves in that area.

After removing those two areas, he feels around my neck for anything else.  He is very thorough, and in this part of the surgery, he feels another mass.  It’s hard, attached to a nerve, and decent size.  The surgeon has no idea what it is, but knows it’s not supposed to be in my neck.

Waking up and hearing the news that all went well.

Waking up and hearing the news that all went well.

The nerve that it’s attached to is the sympthathetic nerve, which controls my right eye lid, my ability to sweat on the right side of my face, and some other things I can’t remember right now – so maybe it controls part of my memory – ha!  They worked meticulously to remove this mass without doing damage to this nerve.  They removed one fiber from the this nerve, but were able to remove the mass successfully.  The surgeon’s guess was maybe it was a “schwannoma”, a benign tumor that can form on the sheath of a nerve.  It also could have been more papillary thyroid cancer.  Only pathology would be able to tell us.

I tried not to worry about it – because bottom line is he was able to remove it, so even if it’s something new going on, it was still out.  I didn’t want to update here until we knew what this mass was, because I didn’t want to be too optimistic or pessimistic. The surgeon told us the soonest he would probably know is Saturday, most likely Monday.

But he calls today!  He tells me that in what he removed, there were 20 lymph nodes, 3 tested positive for papillary thyroid cancer.  The mass he didn’t know what was turned out to be a lymph node just like the other two spots, and it was cancerous.  But all the margins are clear and there is no indication that there’s any cancer remaining.  He had already talked to my endocrinologist, and they both agree that we can just watch and wait to see what my blood work looks like before seeing if any further treatment in necessary.

It’s still a little hard for me to get super excited, because we have been here before and have had cancer return, BUT, I am choosing today to celebrate this victory!  The cancer for all we can tell is GONE!  And the pathology results definitely reveal that it was a good thing we did surgery when we did.  I am glad we decided to act now.

Waving to my kids before school.

Waving to my kids before school.

The other thought I keep having is how incredibly blessed I feel that my surgeon took the time to inspect my neck and found the third mass.  This mass wasn’t on any ultrasound, wasn’t on my CT scan, wasn’t on anyone’s radar!  He could have easily removed the two we knew about and moved on, still leaving cancer in and not being any further along than where we were.  But I have no doubt God worked through him, guided him to the tumor, and aided him carefully removing it without doing any nerve damage.  This is a miracle…this is the healing so many of us had been praying for.

I am very sore (ya know, kinda feel like I had someone digging around in my neck for a few hours!), but this temporary pain is well worth it to get to enjoy what I hope is a lifetime ahead of me of holding my husband’s hand, snuggling with my children, spending time with my family, and all of us growing old together.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone near and far who has prayed for us, checked in with us, brought us and is bringing us food, and all the other little ways we have been lifted up by our friends and families.  The battle isn’t won quite yet, but cancer just got one heck of an eviction notice.

Tonight, nothing but prayers of thanksgiving – for all of you, and especially my surgeon.  My blood work won’t be taken for six weeks, as it can take that long for an accurate reading of my tumor markers post-surgery, but I will keep everyone posted.

Everyone have a great weekend!  Enjoy every minute.