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.