We met with the doctor this week to discuss treatment options and follow up care. It was a good visit. We were encouraged again by how good the prognosis is; and how upbeat the doctors are about the outcome. God is good. We also were able to understand more fully exactly what happened to bring on the tumor so quickly. It is neat to see the puzzle pieces come together and bring even more understanding.
When the tumor appeared on Rob’s neck it became visible overnight. Rob had been working in the garden the day before and felt something “pop” in his neck area. The next morning the tumor was visible and quite large. After several doctor's visits surgery was scheduled (it felt like an eternity). During the surgery the doctor found that the tumor was not invading the neck as it would if it was the aggressive cancer and her thoughts were that the surgery had been successful in removing the tumor (an another unknown tumor on the other side of the thyroid) and that we would wait to see what the pathologist found after the biopsy. The pathologist found a lot of blood in the tumor when he did the biopsy after the surgery. What they have pieced together is that while he was working in the garden the day before, he pulled a muscle or did some type of damage to his neck that caused internal bleeding. The bleeding went into the tumor and caused the tumor to swell. So while the size of the tumor was large when they removed it, it had actually gotten bigger (where we could actually see it on the neck) overnight because of the bleeding in the neck. They also said that the trauma to the neck is what brought on the fevers and night sweats – not the cancer. So, the doctors figure that the tumor had probably been there for some time but did not become visible until he hurt his neck. That is good news because it means that the cancer is a slow moving cancer and not an aggressive cancer as they had once thought.
God is good! We would have never known about the two different types of cancer on the thyroid without the neck injury! It is kind of amazing to see how God worked it all out for us to be able to find out about the cancer. It is also an amazing thing to be told that you may have cancer that could take your life in a matter of months. The paradigm shift that happens is instant and life looks completely different! We have learned SO much from all of this!
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We will be doing a PET scan here in the next week or so to check and see if there is cancer anywhere else in the body or if there is indication that it has spread. After the initial PET scan we will do a course of radioactive iodine (a pill routinely given those with thyroid problems) followed by another PET scan to see if there is any other indication that the cancer has spread somewhere else. We will also have routine blood work done every four months (for quite some time) to measure levels and make sure that they blood work does not indicate that the cancer is growing somewhere else. There is some indication that it *may* have; but it is not clear if that indication is even accurate. They said that even if it has spread the prognosis is still excellent because we will be able to take care of it – and because it is not an aggressive cancer.
We left the visit VERY encouraged. What a turn around this has been since we first found the tumor. What appeared to be a life threatening cancer is now something that is manageable and treatable! We are so thankful. Rob still has bouts of extreme fatigue as they work at getting the thyroid medication balanced in his system; but otherwise things are starting to get back to normal. God has been so good to us through this time. We have seen our faith strengthened and our view of eternity come into a clearer focus.
Just wanted to give everyone an update on the doctor visit. Thanks so much for your prayers. Your notes of encouragement, phone calls and emails have been such a blessing to us. We know that there have been so many praying for us; and we have found ourselves humbled and acutely aware of the power of prayer. After going through this, my prayers for those who are struggling with health issues have changed completely!
Thank you! Being part of the family of God is such a blessing.