Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Where do we go now?

It's been almost a week since the surgery to remove a few lymph nodes on one side of my neck. You all know that turned into something wholly unexpected for the surgeon and us. Dr. G. and her team removed my tonsils and found a large, flat tumor encompassing the nodes on the right side of my neck. A routine 2.5 hour surgery stretched beyond 5 hours as Dr. G. attempted to remove as much of the tumor as she could.

There is muscle infiltration, so she could only remove so much. My neck is asymmetrical. Muscle and lymph nodes as well as a tumor were removed from the right side. She had to take part of my jugular vein. In her words, it's because the tumor was slap up against it. Nerves were severed. The right side of my face droops. I have to practice smiling and pursing my lips because one side drags down. Unless I'm looking in a mirror, I can't see that only half of my face is complying.

There are stitches stretching from slightly past the left middle part of my chin to just behind my right ear. It's a very strange sight that greets me each time I look in the mirror.

I'm tired and my throat hurts. The pain pills help keep the pain in check so that I can eat. They also put me to sleep which helps with my healing. I have to sleep sitting up, which means I get very little consistent rest. Each time I drift off, my head nods forward and I startle awake afraid of pulling stitches. The cats take turns using me as their personal breathing armchair.

Chris has been amazing throughout all of this. My friends have been an enormous wealth of love and support. Social media keeps me connected. I'm not always up to replying to emails and texts in a very timely fashion. I tend to fall asleep in the middle of reading them. I know it will get better and that my body needs to rest in order to heal. I'll try to keep everyone updated as I learn more about treatment. I'll meet with the oncologist in charge of chemotherapy on Thursday.  All treatment and testing will occur in Houston.

I'll wrap this up by saying thank you. Thank you to all of my friends and family and all of the kind strangers who read this blog for reaching out to us and letting us know we're loved. We draw strength from each of you and want you to know how very much your words mean to us.

21 comments:

LPC said...

Your healing is our priority. And thank you always for that smiling photo in your sidebar. It stays with me, no matter how you change in time.

Susan said...

I'm in the stranger category but sending thoughts of strength, hope and healing your way.

Amy P. said...

I think of you and your family every day, Ann. Your courage and perseverance is inspiring. Keep fighting the good fight.

sue said...

I'm also in the stranger category. I continue to pray for y'all & check your blog for updates.

stacyreno said...

Dear Ann, I am holding you in my thoughts & in my heart. I love you as do so many others & we are behind you every step of the way.

Anonymous said...

Another stranger here! You are doing so well, Ann, and I admire your attitude greatly. You keep on resting and healing now. We may not have met, but I love you both, and think of you often, hoping you are managing OK, Sarah xx

joanne said...

Another stranger here who just recently started following your blog. My thoughts are with you every day. You sound like an incredibly strong lady with an amazing attitude. You have my complete admiration. Big hugs x

Anonymous said...

I found you through Lisa Adams' blog and have followed your story in the last week. I'm now one of the many strangers around the world thinking of you, feeling inspired by you, and wishing you healing and good news. Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring us with your strength.

Anonymous said...

Droopy face? Just tell people you had some bad plastic surgery. Seriously, this sucks. It sucks and it's not fair and I hate it. I do take comfort in the support you have but would prefer so e clean scans. Caroline

Silvia said...

Hi Ann. We only know each other through Twitter so I'm a stranger too. I just want you to know I am another one who thinks you are an extraordinary person Thank you for the words you give us each time. Stay strong.

Anonymous said...

Ann, You're such an amazing person and a huge inspiration to all of us. Just keep that wonderful attitude and fighting spirit and you'll get through this latest battle too. Dean will possibly be discharged today from MDA so we'll be heading back home soon. Please know that we're still thinking of you and praying for a positive outcome to the treatments. Stay strong my friend!!!...Betsy

Ronni Gordon said...

As I said on Facebook, you're at the best place in the country...even with a higher ranking than Dana-Farber...and these genius doctors always seem to have something up their sleeve. So have faith in them and breathe! A nurse in the hospital gave me a button that says cancer sucks, and it sure does.

Wendy said...

Ann, you continually amaze me with your strength, poise and dignity. As your friend, I thank you for taking the time to post while you focus on your next steps. I will always be here in support of you and Chris. Good or less-than-good news, I will always greet you with a warm smile and the comfort of friendship and understanding.

Anonymous said...

Stranger here - your grace, dignity and strength just amaze me. I continue to remain awe of your attitude and I send you love, light and healing thoughts. The world is a better place with you in it. Less you and your loving husband.

Anonymous said...

I meant BLESS you and your amazing husband -oh goof!

Dianne said...

Hang in there Kiddo.

Anonymous said...

I hope the pain subsides soon so you can be more comfortable

Thandi said...

We love you, Ann! May Chris continue being the best and may you recover quickly.

Megan said...

Dear Chris and Ann, I too am in the stranger category. I just said a prayer for you here in (Chicago) my cubicle. Sending healing thoughts your way.

Aubrey Holloway said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Operations like this are oftentimes delicate. It's great to know that Dr. G has a plan for all possibilities, and he was able to get rid most of the tumor. You know how good your doctor is if he knows what to do when something unexpected shows up. I hope you are recuperating nicely now! Get well soon!

Aubrey Holloway @ Primary Care Associates

Katherine C. James said...

Love to you, Ann, love to you and to Chris. You are you no matter how you change physically, and you are wonderful. You are both in my thoughts. xo. xo. xo. xo. xo.