Friday, May 22, 2009

More Surgery?

We made the trip to Nashville Thursday for our follow up appointment with my surgeon, Dr. Netterville. Once again we were expecting to go and hear him say the lymph node needed to come out, in what we figured would be a fairly minor surgery. Once again we were wrong. After examining the disk of my PET Scan, and seeing how that I cannot open my mouth, Dr. Netterville had a whole different game plan than what we were expecting. He said he could do a biopsy of the lymph node, but we would be left wondering in the future if it had become cancerous, so it would be best to remove it. That was the news we expected. He then went on to explain why my mouth will not open.... As the surgery site heals it shrinks which in turn causes the muscles to freeze even more. The only way to open my mouth would be to go in (through an incision in my neck) and clip the muscles and replace part of them with good tissue. (If he just removes some and clips the muscle without putting in good tissue, my mouth will just close up again.) When he puts in the good tissue he will go ahead and do a flap reconstruction of the original surgery site and cover the holes in my mouth. This will give me back my normal speech and my ability to eat normally. He will also remove the questionable lymph node at this time. I had made up my mind after my surgery that I would not ever have the reconstruction surgery, I could not imagine going through all it entails. The surgery will last from 9-12 hours, I will have to have a feeding tube, they will take skin, tissue, and blood vessels from my fore arm to make the flap, they will take skin from my thigh to cover what they remove from my arm. I will probably have to have a tracheotomy for a while because of the swelling. I will be in intensive care for three days after surgery and then be in the hospital seven additional days. The pain from the original surgery was more than I could have imagined, it's hard to imagine going through this. I would not even contemplate doing this except for ..... All the Doctors I have seen have informed me that when I have radiation my mouth will close up even more, well, if it closes any more it will be completely closed and I will have to have a permanate feeding tube!!! If I take the chance and go ahead with radiation with my mouth like it is and it closes up more having the surgery after radiation is more risky. There is a greater chance that it will not take because of the damage from the radiation. If it does take, healing is a much longer process. I did not expect to hear Dr. Netterville's recommendations. He kept telling me I have a great attitude but he just wants to give me a better quality of life. To that I say, I am very happy with my life. I feel very blessed to have the wonderful life I have. My speech may sound as if I am mentally challenged but Wendell and my kids can understand me and that is all that matters to me. My mouth really isn't that big of a deal to me either. If I can get food poked in, I can eat it. It is very good weight management because I become so tired from eating that second helpings just aren't worth the effort!!! Thus an added blessing!!!:) But what concerns me is.... if I get a virus that causes vomiting I don't know if I would survive. Also if I ever need dental work it would be impossible. After healing from the surgery for six weeks I will still need radiation. The real surprise was when he informed me he had already talked to his surgery scheduler and had rearranged some surgeries so as to fit me in as soon as possible, June 2!!!!! Twelve days away!!! Not long to prepare. As he was telling me all this I was thinking NO Way!!! I am not having another surgery!!! Then out of the blue he said, "As I was looking at your PET Scan and this lymph node, and the problem with your mouth opening I thought maybe this was God's way of telling me we needed to go ahead with the flap surgery at this time."
What do I say to that? Most doctors never mention their faith or lack there of!!!
Once again, on this journey, I need the Lord's guidance. It is still my desire to walk this path in His will and the way He has designed for me to walk it. I know if I am in His will, He will continue to provide the grace necessary to calm my fears and to sustain me on this journey. Once again I am calling on my God to guide me in the direction He would have me go. Once again I am asking that you help me pray for the Lord's will to be made known in my life. Once again I know There Will Be Grace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Debbie, just read your blog after I sent the email. Just wanted you to know we are praying for you here in Wyoming. Tell Wendell I am proud of him -- he is really a blessing!! There is so much for me to pray for. I'll try my best not to let you down!! Love,