This morning on the way to school, my Bear and I held hands for most of the way. I reached back to grip him when I heard his breathing get faster and heard the catch in his voice. This is how we live these days… gripping each other in the moments and holding onto grace and truth. We are begging God for His healing hand to make it all go away, but we are praying, “Your will be done.”
Yesterday’s appointment with my ENT was good and hard and informative and exhausting. I’m not really sure how to update or where to begin, so this will be a very informative blog with bullet points for you.
—They still do not have all the pathology back. They should have it later in the week. Initial look suggests that this is recurrent papillary thyroid cancer (my second recurrence).
–The cancer has spread. It is in nodes in my neck and down my chest on either side of my trachea.
—The cancer has NOT spread to my lungs or to any other organs.
–There are several ways to go with treatment, and I am being referred to another hospital close by here to get their “take” and see where they would have us go.
—Yes, you read that right–“where they would have us go.” He is recommending we go to one of several hospitals (in various parts of the country) equipped to do this surgery (it is a HUGE surgery) as well as to get best treatment for the cancer. He has given us suggestions and we are researching to see what would be the best fit for our needs.
–I may or may not have to have radioactive iodine treatment again.
–I may or may not have to have chemo.
–They do not know why the radioactive iodine scan came back negative for thyroid cancer. He is going to talk to my endocrinologist. They can do something with recumbent TSH to make my cancer respond to the RI again, so that’s a possibility.
—He is hopeful. Surgery with radioactive iodine treatment is probably curative. That’s such a beautiful word, isn’t it? Curative.My young age (did you hear that, y’all? Young) along with general strength are factors in my favor for beating it.
–All told, surgery would probably be January (all the appointments, phone calls, prepping and planning take time).
—In the meantime he is recommending I have my vocal cord medialized. It would be outpatient surgery where he injects collagen into the healthy cord to swell it this helping it vibrate against the paralyzed cord to make my voice stronger, help with coughing and aspiration.
—If it comes back as something other than thyroid cancer, we throw all this away and begin planning differently.
I know there are a ton of questions. I have a ton, too. I am writing them down and starting my little…er, big… information notebook for doctors.
Two questions keep popping up: how are you? and what do you need?
As for how I am… how we are? Overwhelmed. Exhausted. Worn. Scared. Hopeful.
Cancer is painful. Physically very, very painful. I have a good bit of pain in my neck and chest, and I fatigue easily. It literally hurts to breathe. By 8:00 every night, I’m crashing… then not sleeping (except last night when I got nine hours!)… so usually I wake tired.
We are sad. The children are scared. Brian is worn. My parents are undone.
We are choosing life. We won’t stop living. We won’t stop laughing. We won’t stop worshiping. We won’t stop trusting and clinging and hoping. We won’t stop fighting as long as we are able.
As for what we need? I honestly have no answer for that right now, but it will come in time, I’m sure. I just need y’all to keep doing what you’re doing… loving and praying and encouraging and surrounding us with truth.
“I wanna know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life…”
He is for us.
We know this. We cling to this.
Thank you for walking alongside us. We are so very, very blessed. Of that we are certain.
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