For a person who gets motion sickness, this rollercoaster life isn’t easy, but here we are. I took a few days to pause and direct my focus to the act of intentional thankfulness, but now the time has come for me to share the rest of the news from last week. As is attributed to Joe Friday, “Just the facts, ma’am.”
November 21, Monday: The previous weekend was hard. November 21 was the day I was originally scheduled for the very important surgery to remove the unclear margins that have been lurking on my tongue since the original October 17 surgery. After a privately emotional weekend, I tackled my Monday morning to-do list with a vengeance. Everything on the list involved phone calls to a doctors office, hospital, or something else that was medically related. As you know from a previous post (Read it here), the surgeon in Iowa City referred me back to Peoria so my surgery could happen sooner. And the surgeon in Peoria sent me to Iowa City for the exact same reason. I felt like I was being batted around like a ping pong ball, but I suspected that neither surgeon really knew what the other one had said. I had had enough. It was time for me to step up and be my own advocate. I’m learning.
I called the Peoria office and asked, well, pleaded with, actually, the cancer coordinator to call Iowa City and explain, in detail, what was going on. She agreed. However, be assured I kept working through my list of people to call. I guess I’ve always been a belt-and-suspenders kind of girl.
Shortly after lunch, I received a call from Iowa City asking if we could come to meet with the surgeon there at 10am on Tuesday. We are so thankful this opportunity became available, but the 20 hours notice did require some quick adjusting of schedules.
Meanwhile, in Monday’s afternoon mail, we received the confirmation letter that John was accepted as a resident of the VA home in Quincy, Illinois, and will move there when a bed becomes available in the skilled nursing unit. (Read more about that here.) Obviously, this is yet another difficult and major life-altering change.
November 22, Tuesday: The appointment in Iowa City went smoothly, and by the time we left, a new surgery date had been scheduled – December 22. Yes, it is still another full month away, but that is so much better than any other option I had been given. I am doing my best to resist the fear and uncertainty of knowing that by the surgery date, over two months will have gone by since the first surgery, far longer than recommended by anyone.
Here’s where things really get tricky. This upcoming surgery will be more invasive. Not only are we dealing with those still unclear margins, there is also a second potential tumor site which will have to be biopsied and dealt with during surgery. The surgeon described the unknowns as “if we find this we may have to do that“. This surgery will likely take twice as long as the first one and has a potential recovery time described in months (not weeks, like the first one). The surgeon said this will “heavily impact” my speech, but because of the location on my tongue we are still hopeful adequate swallow function can be retained.
I took a few days to intentionally and prayerfully absorb all of these life changes. I’ll be honest with you. This is a lot and could easily become overwhelming, and at times it does. It is going to take more time to get my head wrapped round all of this than I have had so far, but this I know: I will continue to walk in faith.
Your gut level honesty helps us know how to pray for you. Her strength is an inspiration. Your courage is amazing. Will keep you in my prayers. Can’t imagine going through life without faith.
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