Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Thyroid Post-Op

Today was my post op appointment with the surgeon. April watched my kiddos and Chantell met me there. So glad she did.

When I had the draining tube removed, the lady had said something about the frozen section being benign, so I really hadn't thought of, let alone worried, about the results today. Maybe that was a God thing...

So, here's the deal. It was thyroid cancer. They took a lymph node, and thankfully that came back negative. But both sides had papillary carcinoma, follicular variant. I believe he said that's a mix of two different types of thyroid cancer.

Now let's look at the God things in this situation. My endo had told me if a nodule is smaller than 2cm, they don't biopsy it. Originally, she measured my nodule as being either 2.6cm or 2.8cm. When the surgeon was in there, turns out it was really 1.8cm. If she had correctly measured the nodule to begin with, it wouldn't have been biopsied, and I would still have that growing inside me. Also, we kept going back and fourth on whether the surgeon should remove my entire thyroid or just the right side with the nodule. I wanted to save what I  could, he recommended taking it all. Ultimately, we did decide to have it all removed. During surgery, they did a frozen section and that is when the left side came back being benign. Turns out, however, that my left side had an ever so small nodule growing (0.3cm) and it too came back as cancer. Wow! If I had agreed to only having the right side removed either, 1 - we would either be sitting here thinking my left side is benign while its growing, or 2 - I would be facing surgery AGAIN! I am grateful for how thoroughly the surgeon was as to take a lympth node as well.

Ok. So, according to the surgeon, the type of thyroid cancer that I had is the aggressive type. From what I understand, because of that, the next step is radiation. (Though, it's called something a little different.) It's few pills I'll take for a couple days and I can't be around the kiddos for 4-5 days. I am supposed to go off all thyroid hormone replacement medicine for 1 month, then do the radiation. This would all happen under the care of my endocrinologist.

So, here is where I struggle. I do not want this treatment. I don't want the risks or side effects associated with it. Yes, I am aware of what could be if I choose not to. I want a natural route, but then I always second guess, fear. I want a doctor who hears me when I speak, who treats me like a person, not a number. As most of you know, I've had terrible experiences with doctors - from regular doctors, to pediatricians and OBs - just bad, bad experiences. I don't trust doctors for the most part. That sounds horrible but its the truth. I feel so unsure of what to do.

The plan: I'm going to continue to research natural alternatives. In the morning, I'll call my endocrinologist and set up an appointment where I will ask many questions. Depending on how that goes, I plan on looking into seeing another endo and getting a second opinion. Of course, I will be seeking God and what He wants me to do. I want to do what He wants me to do.

Though I received so much good news today, and I am so grateful for that, I feel drained and somewhat discouraged at the same time. I feel like there is still a long ways to go, and it's going to be hard and I'm going to be exhausted and I feel incredibly needy. I will need a lot of support around me. And I have all the kids birthdays coming up, so that adds to the stress.

God has carried me through so much already, I know He'll get me through this. I believe I will come out on the other side of this a better and healthier person. I am asking for prayers, please and thank you.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Surgery was on Monday January 14th, 2013 at 11am. I am still kind of in shock that I have had surgery. Doesn't seem real...it happened so fast (the falling asleep - waking up).

I give all credit, all thanks to God for continually providing me with peace and just getting me through each minute by minute. I cannot take recognition for that.

Monday morning I got up bright and early, after just going to bed at 1:30am. I stayed up late to deep clean so we would have a nice, clean home to come home to! I wasn't worried about lackof sleep because I was about to be put to sleep. ;) Perry made breakfast for the kids, we prayed for the events about to take place, and together took Zeke to school, then dropped Asher and Macie off with my friend, Crystal.

It was a very rainy day, full of traffic. But we literally made it to the hospital right on time(9am)!Chantell was already there waiting. We went up to the 2nd floor, signed in, were taken back to a room where I had to change, put on stockings to prevent blood clots, and received my IV. I met my pre-op nurse and later my nurse who would be in surgery with me. I also met the anesthesiologist and saw my surgeon again. The pre-op nurse gave me some sort of medicine through my IV to calm nerves, but I did not feel a huge difference; a little light headed/dizzy, but not something drastic like I was expecting.

Chantell and Perry stayed with me the entire time, which was a blessing. To have them there, talking with me about whatever, helped me to keep my thoughts off the surgery about to take place. April, Susan, and Julie - all from small group - also came and sat with me before surgery! How incredible that these ladies decided to come out in the pouring raining and sit through traffic, all for me! Just to give me a hug and say encouraging words before surgery! I love these ladies! My mentor, Anne, also came but got there after I was taken back and had to leave before I was put in my room, but she stayed til I made it out of surgery! I know she came a long ways, too, so it really means the world to me, especially since we didn't get to see each other...but she still came. Melts my heart the love these women have shown me!

I know I read James 2 before surgery. Which you might be like, "Really, Emma?" 'cause it's not Scripture on peace or something directly applying to the situation, but like I said before, I love me some James 2 and it has spoken to me a lot, so I read it allowed and Chantell and Susan prayed (I think it was just them).
 I thought there was a pic of me and Perry but neither of us can find it on our phones.
When I was taken back to surgery - which was rather on time from my memory, not like the movies at all - I was anxious to see what the room looked like. When Asher had tubes put in/adenoids out, I remember the room being super big, and white, SO WHITE, kind of scary. But the room I was in, wasn't like that at all. It was smaller than the room Asher had his surgery in, and it was an off-white color. As silly as it sounds, I found it comforting. :) They raised my bed and I scooted over to the operating table. I remember them tying down my arms or something, telling me I would be put to sleep once the anesthesiologist got in there. Moments went by and I just saw a bunch of people walking around doing a much of different things, then in the corner of my left eye I saw the anesthesiologist come in and stand beside my left arm. I remember thinking, "Ok, I'll be going to sleep soon." I was patiently waiting for the popular count down from 100, but that never happened. Without saying a word, he stuck something in my IV and I felt my eye lids become heavy, but I did not feel sleepy. Next thing I know I woke up in recovery! Seriously, just as smoothly and as quickly as that.
Recovery was a big open room with a bunch of beds and curtians between each bed. I remember seeing a man across the room but he was all alone, no nurses, nothing. He was not there the entire time I was. When I woke up, I remember feeling just a lot of stuff going on around my neck. It was the stitches, draining tube, and foam looking padding stuff they kept around my neck. I had several nurses around me, and as I started to come to, I remember pain. Just lots and lots of pain. And I just expected that I wouldn't wake in pain, that they would have given pain medicine in advance or something. But I started crying. And then screaming. I was in so. much. pain! Then I guess I passed out again. I guess I fell asleep and woke up many times that first day. The next time I remember waking up, I looked at the clock and saw it was 3:30-3:45. I knew surgery was 2 hours, so I should've been out at 1, and originally I was told recovery would only be about 45 minutes long. I started asking why I was still in recovery, when I could see my husband... She said they couldn't control my pain and how I woke up kicking and screaming saying it was a 9-10 on the scale. Ohh, sorry about that. :-/ Total I was in recovery about or just under 2 hours before taken back to my room where I would be staying over night.
Perry, April, Susan, Julie, and Chantell all came to see me after surgery. I just remember being in and out of it a lot. People would be talking to me and I would be fine, then suddenly my eyes would get heavy, next thing I knew I'd wake up to everyone chit chatting. lol. I felt so bad for falling asleep on them! Susan brought me flowers from the group. Eventually, small group left. I remember my friend, Sheree, stopped by after work. She had to leave to pick up her girls from day care but then came back later and stayed until around 11pm! I appreciate all the visits :) I love being surrounded by the ones I love!
On the left, flowers given to me by small group the evening after surgery.
Flowers on the right are from April, the morning after surgery.
Perry's mom and stepdad came by at one point to bring Perry Taco Bell for dinner. They didn't stay but for a minute. I didn't eat at all that day. No appetite.
So, I loved my 7p-7a shift nurses. Really. Later that evening, one of my nurses came in asking if I wanted to go walking and I said yes. She, Perry, and I walked a lap while I pushed my IV. I felt great! Woo-hoo! I felt so great in fact that I walked three more laps. Feeling like a champ because apparently most don't walk laps the first night, or at least not four laps, I came back into the room feeling a bit queezy as I sat on the bed. I bet you can guess what happened next...Oh yes I did. And I cried for my husband like a little baby, true story. The nurse then says in a matter of fact way that how anesthesia will have that affect. WELL, if ya were to have told me that to begin with, I would have stopped after lap one! Really, it's all good though. She was a sweetie and I ended up walking more later on and got to know her better. :)

I didn't sleep so great that night. Pretty much in 30 minute increments. So I watched a lotta TV and surfed a lotta Facebook. 3am they came to take blood. That's just cruel. 
Oh, and this was pretty funny. They kept oxygen on me. Well, sometime super late at night, or early in the morning, they took it off me, and as I was falling asleep all the bells and wistles went off saying my oxygen went down to 86. So, the nurse came in and put me back on oxygen. I still had my stockings on, preventing blood clots, I'm cautious like that. Yes, you could not tell this was a 24 year old chica, I resembled more of a great granny.
So that morning when the doctor came in, he made a comment about me still being on oxygen! He even said, "You're too young to still be on this!" and took me off it. I felt kind of silly. But I did keep the stockings on for a bit more! ;-) He said my para-thyroid and calcium levels came back normal. PHEW! He said my thyroid was super enlarged and had a lot of scarring. He said to go to his office on Thursday to have draining tube removed, then in 1-2 weeks the pathology report would be in and I'll make an appt to come in for that.
Chantell and Susan visited briefly that morning where Susan shared a devotion thingie called Daily Bread (I think) and I shared mine from Jesus Calling. It was nice. :) April stopped by too and was actually there when I was released at about 12:30-1pm. My friend, Farah, brought us dinner that evening.
I had a hard time sleeping and being comfortable in general with that draining tube. I seriously feel for everyone who has ever HAD to have surgery and I seriously do not know why anyone would CHOOSE to have surgery done (cosmetic). It is not a fun time.
Wednesday April came and helped out and Chantell brought food. We actually had a miscommunication with food and Crystal and Mikaela (works with Perry at church) also brought food. Thank goodness for frigs/freezers! My mother in law came over that evening and stayed til about 8:30pm. Thursday sweet Susan came and stayed until the evening and Jonathan (Zeke's Cub Scout leader) brought us macaroni. Susan was incredibly patient and interactive with my kids. I feel like I learned so much as a parent from her! She made us all dinner. She took great care of me and my kids, I was totally impressed! Crystal took me to my appointment that afternoon and held my hand as the draining tube was snipped and removed. Again, not a fun time. I literally have a hole in my chest area covered by a bandaid. I have an appointment for January 29th to go back to go over the pathology reports. I was informed he also took lympth nodes to check them for cancer as well.
Friday was my first day alone and I completely over did myself by cleaning, doing school work with Asher, taking the babes outside. I was in a lot of pain and exhausted. Too much too soon, for sure. April came over just before  5 and drove us and all our kids to Amber's house for ice cream and cake for baby Bryson's first b-day.
Saturday I was alone again, feeling more sick with my heart racing and kind of had a mental break down. My sweet friend, Kati, listened attentively as a moaned and complained. She was so kind and selfless by offering to drive from an hour away and to come take my kids for a couple days to help out when she herself has 4 kids. Ultimately, Zeke did not want to go because he wanted to see his daddy on Sunday, but the fact she would do that for me...wow! She is a great friend! I love her! God really took care of me that day, I was at my wits end. Out of nowhere Amber texted saying she was bringing dinner and Crystal came over and helped clean that night. So thankful for God's love through Kati, Amber, and Crystal.
This morning Perry and the kiddos went to church while I stayed home. I've pretty much had an insanely lazy day. I am just so ready to be healed and over this and move on with my life. I have so many big plans for this year, both personally and as a family. I feel like this is holding me back. But I am *trying* oh-so-hard to be patient. I know He has His reasons, and so I wait...
A picture made for me by Amber, with one of my favorite verses.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Night Before...

I want to record these feelings so I can refer back to them if ever I doubt.

Tomorrow morning is surgery. It has been a longggg time coming. The actual surgery has had 3 different dates - but now it's here. It's finally, actually here. Woa!

I am overcome with calm...with a peace I only wish I could explain. And when I think about the actual event that is about to take place, I smile. Smile! That is not a normal reaction for me. To smile or feel calm. No, my friends, this is a God thing.

Today I've been blessed with a mixture of phone calls, emails, and text messages from friends saying they love me, thinking about me, praying for me. It all started this morning - or really before bed last night. God has been sending me reassurances throughout the day. Not overwhelmingly, but slowly, one here, one there, and so on. It's spread out evenly. It makes me feel loved...cared for...like I'm not going through this alone.

Friday at my ladies community group (I say small group), my apparent fears and worries became apparent to them. And can you believe, they did not make me feel like my feelings were invalid. I can't even give word for word what was said, but it was so reassuring, so comforting, so God - speaking - through - them. I walked away feeling good, and have been feeling so ever since.

Tomorrow as I go in for surgery, I will not be alone. I will have my husband and small group. And of course, my God will be with me. I will be surrounded.

I feel so undeserving of the compassion and support. I've never experienced something like this before. I have had two different friends tell me today how people in their churches are praying for me. I know people in my own church are praying for me as well. I feel so blessed to be covered in prayers, in people's thoughts!

My boys don't seem worried or bothered about the days to come. This brings me so much comfort. I am sensitive in regards to my childrens feelings. And if normally I'd be OK in a certain situation, knowing they're not, will make me not. So, the fact that they don't seem phased, is a blessing! God is protecting my children from fear and worry!!! Thank You, Jesus!!!

Macie has been especially clingy. But I am so confident that she will be just fine because between the two friends who will be watching my kids, she loves them and their kids so much, that I think she will become so preoccupied, she won't even give me a second thought.

I believe in the power of prayer. I've witnessed its power. I am so covered in prayer right now, I can't help but feel everything is going to be ok. Everyone is going to be ok. It's not just about me, but my family, and they're covered too.

A little over a year ago I found this verse, and it became mine. I think it means more to me now than it did then.

I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. - Psalm 16:8

Amen and Amen!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Beautiful of Simplicity

Today was a nice day. Really nice.

The little ones and I surprised Zeke at school at lunch time. Then I helped his teacher by making some copies. She and I had a nice talk. I love getting to know his teacher(s)! Then we went to the media center to see if we could help and I had yet another great conversation with the librarian. So simple but so nice!

We had about 2 hours til pick up time so Ash, Mace, and I headed to a nearby park. We had so much fun! Macie isn't a big fan of slides but she warmed up and we kept going down the big slide all together. I left my phone in the van so there wouldn't be any distractions (for me). Asher loved the swings, and Macie loved sitting in the train cart. There was a little boy there, probably a couple months younger than Macie, and he would go over to Macie and point, "Baby! Baby!" and she would do the same to him! Too funny!

This evening I brought dinner for a friend of mine who had cataract surgery this morning. We all ate together and then the kids went off and played and we had a nice talk. I appreciate one-on-one, honest, and raw conversations.

I appreciate days like these. I appreciate when God opens the eyes of my heart to receive the simple yet amazing blessings He gives freely, daily. Sometimes I am so blind to the day to day goodness of His love, grace, and mercy. I value these times. The laughter and innocence of my children. I value the relationships created out of the ordinary. I am so thankful to Him for this day.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Brotherly Love

This morning, Zeke came to me asking for his piggy bank. See, Zeke wanted to buy his little brother a duck from the school store. Zeke has purchased some in the past and Asher really showed an interest in them, so Zeke wanted to surprise his brother with his own! It melts my heart to see how my kids love...and to see Zeke be so incredibly thoughtful and buy something for his brother, out of the blue! And it was so sweet how he gave it to Asher...We were in the car, and Zeke told Asher he had a surprise for him. Just the sweetest thing! I've gotta brag on my little men and say how close they've become the past couple of months. The typical sibling bickering has significantly decreased. They're WANTING to do everything together, they comfort each other, stick up for each other - it's just a beautiful thing to witness! I love my sons so much and I'm very proud of the young men they are turning into!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Perry's Birthday 2013

Could not get this pic to rotate for anything!
January 2nd was my hubby's birthday! I love how Perry gets just as excited as a child does and can never seem to wait til his birthday to open his gifts! lol! Perry chilled at home and we had pizza and cookie cake before he went to work. He is 27 years young! Happy birthday, love!!