Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Diagnosis

Our cancer journey started in 2013. Start at the beginning with these posts:

My Husband's Cancer

After waiting all weekend to hear from the pathologist, I had convinced myself that it wasn't cancer. Maybe it was a false sense of security, or maybe I was trying my hand at "helping" God with the answer I wanted it to be.

But as Kiddo and I were running errands, I got the phone call from Sound Man. He was crying.

"It's cancer."

Even though I knew it was a probability, when the reality of those words sank in, I just couldn't believe it. I listened to my husband tell me that the doctor had called him from her cell phone immediately after getting the news from the pathologist. He said that she wanted him to come in to see her husband, who was an ear, nose, and throat doctor (as well as neck surgeon) in the same office as hers, and to call him immediately to see when he could see him. Within two hours of hearing the news, we were in the surgeon's office listening to what was going to happen to my husband over the next several months.

"Surreal" doesn't even begin to describe how our lives felt.

Dr. Jeffrey (as we call him...his wife is Dr. Amanda. "Dr. Cunningham" would be kind of confusing in their office because they are both Dr. Cunningham!) was very matter of fact, gave us all the statistics we could possibly need, told us exactly what the surgery would entail, gave me Kleenex when I broke down, and gave us as much hope as we  could humanly ask for. He told his assistant to make sure to schedule the surgery at our local hospital when he would be in town, because HE wanted to be the doctor to see Sound Man every time a doctor was supposed to see him. We left his office unsure of when the surgery would be, but feeling better about the diagnosis and feeling GREAT about the surgeon.

Thyroid cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer, if not THE most treatable. If the lymph nodes had not been involved, he would just have taken the thyroid out, Sound Man would take the radioactive iodine treatment, and that would be it. But the lymph nodes were involved, so it was going to be more involved that just taking out a simple gland. Much more involved.

He said it would be called a "radical neck dissection," and he would take out not only the thyroid, but also all the lymph nodes on his right side, and possibly his jugular vein, depending on what he found when he got in there. Um...I had no idea you could live without your jugular vein, but evidently you have one on both sides of your neck.

So began another waiting period to see when surgery would be.

As Inigo Montoya says..."I hate waiting."


mamamia said...

I am so sorry that you and your hubby are travelling through this valley. I know how hard the waiting is, and the not-knowing.
Cling close to God, He will carry you both through, even when you don't realize He is.
I shall keep you both in my prayers, God bless!

Barbara said...

Like you, Heather, I had no idea we have more than one jugular vein. So you are teaching us all kinds of things as you share this most personal experience.

It's amazing what God knows we can endure when we are drawing from His strength… much more than we could ever have thought or imagined.

I am blessed by reading your story.

Barbara said...

Post Script to my comment above: we, like you, are fans of "The Princess Bride." Thank the Lord for humor that helps to lighten the unbearable load!

Richella Parham said...

Oh, my friend. I am so sorry. I know that cancer, of all things, must scare you almost speechless.

The road ahead will not be easy, that's for sure. Good thing God is carrying you, isn't it? Bumpy roads are no trouble for Him. He's got you.

Bless you, sweet lady. I'm glad you're writing about the whole thing here.