The first ten days were spent taking it easy, and my super-duper husband took care of our clan and me. I always knew he was amazing, but now I REALLY know! A mom of four can rarely “take it easy,” even after a surgery like mine, but Neel (with the help of friends and family), really made sure I did and it made all the difference.
I had my follow up yesterday with the surgeon (aka the miracle man!). I couldn’t help but give him a huge hug. Because of his skill, the cancer is out – even the cancer we didn’t know was there until he was in operating. I asked him about that…
“What made you keep looking in my neck after you had removed the two areas we knew about?” I asked.
He said that as he was inspecting the area after the two chains of lymph nodes had been removed, he was looking at the network of nerves, the tissue, and the anatomy of my neck. He noticed a slight bulge that didn’t look right. He investigated and that’s when he felt the third tumor. But he didn’t know if it was cancer, he just knew it didn’t belong there. It was about 11mm in size.
He also said the way it was attached to my sympathetic nerve, there was a high chance after the surgery I would have had all those symptoms I wrote about in my last blog (dialated right pupil, droopy eye lid, inability to sweat on half my face – also called Horner’s syndrome). But I had none of that! (I told you he was a good surgeon!). He also said that if he hadn’t removed it, not only would I still have cancer in my neck, but I would have started showing these symptoms eventually, and I would have needed another surgery to prevent the nerve damage.
He couldn’t explain why this cancer tumor wasn’t on any scan – and it’s hard to know how long it had been there. But it is OUT!
And guys, if there was ever a doubt I shouldn’t have done this surgery, well there’s no doubt now. We all prayed we would be led to what we should do, and we felt like we were being steered toward surgery – well, God always steers well, and led us to exactly what we needed to do to get well. He is the ultimate healer – using one amazing surgeon to do the work.
I feel like I am forever changed for the 100th time in this journey – and yet each of those 100 changes are perhaps the same change over and over. Trust the Lord…trust…trust…trust…
The other great news is the Methodist tumor board met about my case and because only 3 of 20 lymph nodes removed were cancerous, and because there was little extension, no further treatment is recommended at this time. This means no radioactive iodine treatment – wahoo! This is an awful three week process between a special diet, isolation, and staying away from my family. I’ve done that once and do NOT want to do it again.
The next big milestone will be my blood work results that we will find out around Thanksgiving. If my tumor markers are decreasing (or hopefully undetectable), we will know that the cancer is gone. Nothing happens quickly with thyroid cancer – so we will be in the holding pattern until then, but life keeps us plenty busy so I’m sure it will go fast.
Thank you for everyone who has helped us out the past two weeks – the meals, picking up our kids, watching our kids, phone calls, texts, and of course all the prayers. Times like this in your life you rely on your village – and mine totally came through. Thank you, all!
PS: Two other superstars from the last two weeks need a mention – my bookends, Helen and Magdalene. Helen, age 8, was the little mommy to the rest of the kiddos while I couldn’t lift or move too well. She never complained and I was again reminded the special graces God gave our oldest.
And Magdalene, a HUGE mommy’s girl, somehow knew something was going on and didn’t complain when I couldn’t pick her up, be the one to change her or put her to bed. She was happy to be with whoever was helping out – something she hardly has EVER done.