Friday, February 21, 2014

The Surgery

Because y'all are precious people and several of you have expressed concern about us, I need to say here that what I'm writing about started a year ago...we are not going though this as I'm writing. It's taken me this long to get the gumption to revisit it all. To read about our cancer journey so far, go to these posts:

My Husband's Cancer
The Diagnosis

Note: I go into a little bit of detail on my husband's surgery. Just wanted to give you fair warning. Nothing gory, I promise. Hee hee.

As we waited for a surgery date, Sound Man and I took turns being the strong one. There were days when I just felt like I couldn't take the stress of waiting and worrying anymore, and Sound Man would be right there with encouraging words. The phrase the Lord gave him was what his testimony was every day.

"It will be okay. Getting 'from here to okay' is going to be tough, but it will be okay."

On the days when he was weak from stress, thinking the cancer might be spreading, and wanting an answer, I was there to remind him that it was going to be okay. "We have a hope that people without the Lord can't imagine. It WILL be okay. Don't give up hope!"

We knew the doctor was going to be out of town in March sometime, so the problem, and the reason we were waiting so long for an answer, was where and when to schedule it when there would be no interruptions in Dr. Jeffrey being his only doctor. What added to the stress was having to wait until a surgery date to coordinate Kiddo's whereabouts during surgery and hospital time, who would see to Jonathan (our Golden Retriever), how long I would be out as director of our church's homeschool program, etc. Without knowing when the surgery was, none of that could take place.

So when the doctor's office called one day and said the surgery might be the very next day, I think my brain imploded. I couldn't think of one productive thing to take care of, so what did I do? I bought new door mats and cleaned my purse out.

Yep.  Reeeeeal productive. But it turned out all the anxiety and...uh..."productivity" I had was for naught. Surgery wasn't scheduled for the next day. Sigh.....again we waited.

FINALLY we found out that it would be on March 20th. A month from the time we had found out it was possibly cancer.

The day of the surgery, we got to the hospital about 5:00 a.m., with surgery scheduled to be at 7:00. Before they went back, the doctor came in and told us he had already been praying over this surgery, which made our hearts so happy. Then Sound Man did something he hadn't told me he was going to do. He asked Dr. Jeffrey if he could pray for HIM.

As I sat there beside my husband's gurney, I had to hold my hand over my mouth to keep from sobbing as he prayed for the doctor's hands and skill to get every bit of the cancer out. How he thanked the Lord for providing a doctor who cared enough to pray for his patients. How he knew that this was going to be okay in the end. What an amazing man I have.

After he prayed, they wheeled him out and I kissed him goodbye, then headed downstairs for the long wait. The doctor had said it could be up to an eight hour surgery, so I came prepared with everything I could get my hands on to keep me occupied. My precious bestie, Kat, came and sat with me most of the day, and even brought me breakfast and paid for my lunch.

My in-laws came and stayed for a little while, but since my father-in-law was dealing with terrible, debilitating back pain, they couldn't stay for long (thankfully he was able to go on disability and get an implant that relieves some of his pain!). Our worship pastor came after Kat left, and visited for a bit, but by that point I was getting really antsy for the surgery to be over. The nurses would call every hour and let me know he was doing great, and for that I was so thankful. But I wanted to see HIM!

About 3 p.m. I looked up from my magazine to see Dr. Jeffrey coming toward me, still in his scrubs. He told me they took out Sound Man's thyroid, which took about three hours, as well as 30 lymph nodes and his jugular vein, since some of the nodes were attached to it. He felt the risk of taking them off was greater than just taking it out. That's what took the longest...5 hours!  He had told us that his scar would be minimal because he could stitch him up from the inside, but because he had to take out his jugular, he had to use staples instead in case he had a bleed and the doctor needed to get back in there in a hurry...just unzip!

Dr. Jeffrey told me they also took out some muscle tissue where the cancer had spread, but other than that, every sample they sent away to the pathologist came back negative for cancer, and he was pretty certain they had gotten it all. As soon as he said those words, again, I fell apart. So this was the second time I'm sobbing in front of this doctor in the same day. I'm sure he thinks I'm a basket case.

Sound Man rooting on the Memphis Tigers in the hospital

After spending four days in the hospital we were finally allowed to go home, and then the real waiting game started.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

That surgery really was a BIG DEAL! Waiting is very hard, I know. I'm glad this is all past-tense now (except for the recovery issues, of course). Don't you wish we could sleep through that part, too?!!

You know, of course, that this experience has been/is what "earns you the right" to minister to others in Jesus' name. You, girlfriend, have BEEN THERE!

I'm praying for all of you!