Â If you look closely at this picture you will see the little mole on the left side of my forehead that had the melanoma in it. Of course it’s gone now as well as all the lymph nodes downstream from it. In Friday’s follow up visit with Dr. Wilson, I reported the pain in my collar bone area and inability to raise my arm straight out from my body, all of which was something he had warned me might happen. I’ll be doing some physical therapy to help with this and be sure the shoulder does not freeze. The new thing is the hematoma alongside the incision. It’s quite a lump. Hopefully it will be absorbed. If not he’ll do some procedure to drain it. There will likely be a follow up with Dr. Da Graca but there’s no indicated actions other than watch for moles or lumps.
I have been doing a lot of extra sleeping and resting to invest in healing. Other things like classes at Western, two workshops at Missions Connexion and two Perspectives classes in Spokane Monday and Tuesday nights continue to make life fun.
Sherry’s healing continues alongside mine. Today is her first day for her sprained ankle delayed cardiac rehab. She reports that they are very nice people and aren’t pushing her . . . yet!
This Sunday I will preach at Grace on Generous with our Time from Psalm 90. Lots to ponder since melanoma gave new reality to “ponder your mortality.” In doing research, I found Joey and Rory, first rank country singers. She is dying of cervical cancer, which Rory blogs about in his January 15 entry at “This Life I Live.” They did their song “When I Am Gone” back in 2012 before any illness. Click on the link. Read the blog post. It is super powerful.
I started my Monday with a two hour class (so fun!) and then went home to take a two hour nap. Fair play wins. Then I went to see Dr. El Rassi to the dratted drain out. I asked him if his name was Lebanese. It was and he was amazed that I knew. We had good talk about Lebanon memories while he was checking me out. The biggest concern is that I can hardlyÂ lift my left armÂ at all. It is super painful. Dr. Wilson had told me the nerve might get tweaked but there was no post-surgical sign of that on Thursday or Friday. It started Friday evening and has stabilized. He agreed that it might be a combination of surgery and the anatomical change from my badly broken collar bone way back in 1987 which they did surgery on to see if fusion might help my moving clavicle in 1988. He thinks it will go away in a couple of months.
As we did all that, he took out the drain — it feels weird and painful when he pulled that long tube out of my neck, but absolutely wonderful to have it gone! After some follow up conversation on a physical therapy consult, he sent me on my way.
As I was pulling onto I-205, my phone rang. There is no caller id when it comes through the system in my van so I answered wondering who might be might be calling. Â “This is Dr. El Rassi.Â I want to tell you that your pathology report arrived and it’s all clear.”
Needless to say, it made my day!Â Now I can say what I expected to say, “There is no known cancer in my body.”
I celebrated by going home and taking a nap and then teaching my evening class to a great group of students. So fun!
I will see Dr. Wilson, the surgeon, on Friday and ask specifically what to watch for. Dr. Martin, the dermatologist, will get to be intimately acquainted every square millimeter of my skin!
Yesterday’s surgery to remove the other lymph nodes in the left side of my neck went very well. Dr. Wilson told Sherry that they all looked fine. That means there’s probably no active cancer but does not rule out the presence of some cells as there was on the sentinel node which was removed back in November. He kept me overnight as a precaution (I like cautious doctors!). Surprisingly I slept well in the hospital. They only woke me once to do vitals and it was time for a potty trip anyway. After a very good breakfast, I was discharged at 9:00 this morning. Home is a good place to be! I’ve been laying low today with a long afternoon nap as the biggest event of the day. Pain is minimal but I have major meds if it kicks up. No hero spirit in me. No responsibilities for the weekend by design. Then classes start Monday with getting the drain out of my neck as the most anticipated event of that day!
I am praying for a clean pathology report in my Friday post-op with Dr. Wilson. Then I will be able to say, “there is no know cancer in my body.” Regular observation will follow of course.
Sherry and I deeply appreciate the huge number of people who are praying and supporting in many ways/.