When I found out I had a rare cancer of the minor salivary glands, I began spending hours searching the internet for other people who had been through the same diagnosis. I found some people who had cancer of the tonsils or tongue but only after weeks and weeks of searching did I finally find one other blog of a woman who had close to the same diagnosis as I did. I found her blog very helpful in knowing some of what to expect. I want to make my blog as informative as possible, in case someone else is diagnosed and wants to know (like I did) what to expect. I am still on pain meds so I may have to write several blogs to get updated to where I am currently, please bear with me, I will eventually give my blog address to my doctors so if they diagnose some one in the future, maybe sharing my experience with them will be helpful.
We showed up for surgery on March 24th. After being admitted, changing into a drafty hospital gown, and starting an IV, the doctor came in to talk to us. He gave us the unexpected option of having reconstruction done that day. So we began weighing the pros and cons….. pros: I would get it all over with during one surgery, I would not have to use the obturator, my speech would be normal. Cons: It is a very extensive surgery, 12 hours, recovery time consists of three days in ICU and a one week or longer hospital stay, I would have to have a tracheotomy. The thought of getting it all done at one time was very appealing to me, I hated the thought of going through the anxiety and additional pain again. After much thought and prayer, and I am certain due to those praying for me, we made the decision to not do the reconstruction at that time. I have thanked God every day since, that He helped us to make that decision, I honestly don’t know if I could have handled any more at this time. Oh how sweet to have Him to turn to during times of uncertainty.
So off to the OR I went. The surgery lasted about 4 or 4 ½ hours. I can remember, knowing I was in the recovery room and hearing some friends and family talking to me. I had given Wendell instuctions to take pictures of every step, when I was back to normal I wanted to be able to see exactly what all went on. I must say HE LISTENED to me. I have some extremely unflatering pictures of me in the recovery room with friends and family!!! I did not become fully awake until I was in a room later that day. My mouth was extremely dry, and I could not differentiate between my tongue, teeth jaws, etc… everything was swollen and felt like one. It was probably about two days before I could really tell there were individual parts in there!!! I could talk, not well but Wendell and Steph could make out what I was saying. The first 24 hrs. after surgery were pretty rough. I have a usually high pain tolerance, but after receiving pain meds by IV every four hours for the first 24 hrs. I was to my limit. The IV meds would put me to sleep for 10 or 15 minutes but would not ease the pain. When I was finally able to make them understand this, they gave me a pain patch, and one of two different pain meds every two hours by mouth, and a Moraphine pump that I could administer myself every 8 minutes. Sounds like enough to make the devil forget his problems, but all I can say is it helped!!!
Well the meds are getting the best of me, so I will write more details later. Before I go, there is one other thing I want to say about the goodness of God.
When Wendell & I were driving to Nashville, on the night after being at Fort Sanders Hospital all day, and losing my Mother so unexpectedly, I told Wendell I know God has a purpose for everything happening as it does but I just couldn't possibily understand at that time His purpose in the timing of things happening like they were. I would still trust Him even if I didn't understand. Today my Dad came to the house to visit me. We were talking and he told me he does not think he could have made it through if we had rushed through everything. He said he needed that time before her burial. Our God is so good!!! His Grace is sufficient!!! He did not owe me any explaination of His timing, but He chose to help me understand.