Surgery will take place either on January 13th or 14th. The following are the details...
Surgery will be long and hard. It will take 12+ hours and involve two surgeons. I will be in the hospital for up to 10 days. An incision will be made under my eye and down my nose to my upper lip. The bone under my eye and above the maxilliary sinus will be removed. They will then remove all of the cancer cells that are left. They will biopsy under my eye to determine if there is cancer there. If the biopsy is positive, they will then remove my eye. I will also lose all of the teeth on the upper right side of my mouth. The surgery will cut off blood flow to these teeth causing them to die. To repair my face, the fibula bone in one of my legs will be used and/or tissue from my abdomen or upper leg. If they repair my mouth with bone, I will be able to have teeth implants put back in down the road. If they repair it with tissue, I will no longer have teeth there. If they remove my eye, I will be able to have a prosthetic eye put in the future. I will also require a tracheotomy to help with breathing due to the fact that my mouth and face will be extremely swollen. I will be breathing through the trach throughout my hospital stay. The hope will be that it gets removed before I leave the hospital. I will also have a feeding tube inserted into my nose to keep me fed for up to 3 weeks. After healing is done, I will need to meet with some Speech Pathologists to get my speech, swallowing and eating back. Overall, recovery will take up to 4 weeks after I leave the hospital.
My surgeon anticipates I am curable at this point. I will not require any further treatment. The only thing that may throw a wrench into this is if they find more cancer deeper into the tissue or muscle. But, the surgeon said they have yet to see this on the scans. He also said that most of his patients have said that recovery is much easier than chemo and radiation. And since I am young and healthy, he is confident I will handle the surgery well.
How do I feel? I AM SCARED OUT OF MY MIND!!!! I am not happy about getting a tracheotomy and loosing my teeth. I am very anxious about the possibility of waking up and realizing my eye is gone and having no family members around me to process the loss. I am afraid about how I am going to look. No teeth? No eye? Scars on face. Scars on my neck. Scars on my legs. All of this just for a few cancer cells. But if I want to be cured, I have no choice but to have the surgery. Oh what it would be like to have choices again.
Where is God in all of this? Why is he subjecting me to such an ordeal? I don't know why. Sometimes this all feels like a dream. Throughout this past year up until now, there were many times that I asked God to show himself to me...show me his love. And the other day, it finally hit me...he has been using my friends and family to show me his love. He has been there all of this time. Just in a different way than I expected. In past blogs, I have written countless examples of how people have demonstrated how much they care for me and are supporting me. From an anonymous group of women who sent me a variety of hats to wear on my bald head to cards sent in the mail with words of encouragement. But these past few days, I have never before felt so loved by those around me and I am feeling Gods arms around me because of it. It is because of this I feel somewhat at peace and have the strength to get through this.
Tonight, we were visited by a group of our friends in the neighborhood to sing us Christmas carols by candlelight. Our house was their only stop. I know it was because they wanted us to feel the spirit of Christmas despite what we are going through. And to show us love, God's love. It was so special for us and it brought tears to our eyes.
I have also been receiving anonymous gifts left at our door. The other day, I received a necklace with the word "survivor" on it. It is beautiful. And the card it was in said, Sue, you are a survivor. Not only are we receiving a plethora of Christmas cards, but cards sent to us from friends and family reminding us that we are still in their prayers. I have been told numerous stories of cancer survivors that went through the same surgery I am about to undergo. They are now living a normal and healthy life.
Thank you God for showing me your love this past week. As I look back, I see you have been there the entire time. Thank you for blessing me with so many wonderful friends, family and strangers that have gone out of their way to show me love.
Please continue to pray: for wisdom for the doctors, for peace before and after the surgery, for protection of my eye, for pain control, for a speedy recovery and for the cancer to stay contained until the surgery. And especially to be healed!
Thank you all!