I asked for life...

"But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the voice of truth says "this is for my glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth..."

Casting Crowns, "Voice of Truth"

My surgery on Wednesday went well. The entire visit to Mayo was quite an experience - I will have an interesting, science fiction account of my stay in the pre-surgical holding area in a day or two! After repeat testing was done, the Mayo surgical team believed that my tumor was benign, consisting of normal follicular cells - a normal overgrowth of the thyroid, possibly related to pregnancy. Aaron and I were presented with two possible treatment options: 1) go home and follow-up with another ultrasound and biopsy in 3 months, or 2) proceed with surgery due to the question of cancer and my symptoms of hoarseness and difficulty swallowing. We were still presented with a 5-10% chance of cancer, although the surgeons felt it would be slow-growing. After much prayer and discussion, we decided we would hinge upon the ultrasound results, which would either show shrinkage (what the surgeons expected), no change or growth in tumor size (which I expected). The tumor was, indeed, the same size, and after a few moments of anguish, both Aaron and I decided we did not have peace with leaving the tumor there for 3 months. Thank God for His gentle hand guiding us!

I was whisked to surgery in about 45 minutes time after we made our decision. It was difficult to trust God and - even more - myself during this time. I was thankful it was a short time. I was put to sleep using a totally IV anesthetic, which hopefully would avoid the post-surgical vomiting I have experienced in the past. I had the chance to tell my surgical team that I and many others were lifting them up in prayer just prior to being put under. Immediately after I was put under, I began retching uncontrollably (in my sleep, no less!) and they had to use an IV paralytic as well as a local paralytic spray in my throat so that they could continue the surgery on my neck. Following removal of the lobe of my thyroid where the tumor was growing, a section was frozen, sliced, and examined by a pathologist in the surgical suite. Much to Dr. Richard's surprise, the results came back "papillary carcinoma - follicular variant". She then proceeded to remove the rest of my thyroid gland, as well as all the lymph nodes in the central part of my neck. These were sent off to pathology for examination, and the preliminary results are that the lymph nodes contain no cancer.

When I woke from anesthesia, I continued to retch and they had difficulty stabilizing my breathing because of my treatment with the paralyzing agents. I am continuing to have some difficult coughing and clearing my throat because of this. I had a few hours of fighting more anxiety, as I heard soon after I awoke that I had a total thyroidectomy (which I knew meant I had cancer) but not told the good news that I had the papillary - and thus more curable - type!

I was discharged from the hospital this afternoon. I feel quite well. I have a sore throat, stiff neck and the small trouble with breathing and coughing. I am very encouraged by my visits with various top-notch endocrinologists today, who confirm that I belong to an intermediate risk group of people with highly curable and never deadly cancer. It is probably something I will be dealing with for the rest of my life, with frequent follow-up at Mayo and iodine scans of my body for metastasis. I may or may not require iodine treatments, which would require 1-3 weeks of separation from my children each time. Please keep this in your prayers! There is some concern that metastasis will be difficult to identify, as it was so difficult to identify the original cancerous tumor. That is also an issue for prayer!

Thank you all for your continued prayers and notes of support! I read them all, and although I haven't had time to reply to everyone, I appreciate them so much and find them very uplifting.

He asked you for life, and you gave it to him— length of days, for ever and ever. Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty. Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. ~ Psalm 21:4-6