View from the Ridge
Ecc.3:1-3 Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses. He sets the time for birth and the time for death, the time for planting and the time for pulling up, the time for killing and the time for healing, the time for tearing down and the time for building.
ECC 3:11-13 He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what he does. So I realized that all we can do is be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive. All of us should eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for. It is God's gift. GNB
This has been a busy week but I thought I would bring everyone up to date. Tuesday was doing all the pre-op stuff for Wednesday’s surgery. We first went to the anesthesia wing and they drew blood, did an EKG, and a physical exam to make sure I was healthy enough to undergo surgery. Then it was off to the MRI wing where I spent an hour and a half inside while they did only my head and neck. I knew I was in trouble when they gave me ear plugs. That was the noisiest contraption I have ever been inside of. Most of the time it sounded like there were 2 or 3 guys with mallets beating on wood and iron. There was one period that it sounded like a giant microwave oven was ready to cook me. Then it was back to the surgeon’s office for a final consultation with him.
Oregon Health Science University (OHSU) is a huge facility and walking around trying to find all these places was a challenge for healthy old people. I really don’t know how the sick ones do it. Then I noticed that most everyone there looked sick. I was healthier than just about everyone; yet here I was, preparing for surgery. Each department wanted my weight and blood pressure and what level of pain I was experiencing. Each time I replied “none” and they gave me the “why are you here” look.
I have to tell you that over the preceding weekend, I did not get much sleep. I was so not looking forward to four hours of surgery and then the recovery time and pain. So Sunday, I started asking God for peace because Satan was flooding my mind with every conceivable consequence of this surgery. Monday and Tuesday nights were good sleeping nights because God answered that request and I felt the prayers of all of you asking for the same thing. I started to finally give it all to Jesus and it was a heavy load off of me.
Wednesday started at 8 a.m. with a visit to the Nuclear Medicine department. Here they wanted to inject a radioactive isotope into four areas inside my nose. The blood stream would then take this to the lymph nodes that service that area of the nose. They have a camera that records the flow of the isotopes and then the doctor marks on my neck where these nodes are so that the surgeon will be able to remove them. I mentioned to this one resident doctor that he better not be writing “cut on dotted line”.
When I first arrived I was met by the operator of the equipment and he explained how the procedure would work. He also explained that the shots in the nose would sting like a bee.
I didn’t think much about it until the surgeon arrived to give the injections. He had an entourage of 5 other doctors and residences who wanted to observe this rare procedure where the injection site is inside the nose. So while these guys are all chit chatting about what is going to happen, the burly operator positions himself directly behind and instructs me to relax and lean back on him. That’s when I knew that I was in deep trouble. He clamps his hands on the sides of my head so I can’t move it and the surgeon proceeds with the injections.
Bee stings my foot!! That hurt!! On a scare of 1 to 10, that was a 9.5! Now I know why they only hire big burley guys to run that machine. Yikes!
Anyway, it took an hour but they located two lymph nodes and marked them for removal. While I was going through that, Jeri and Lani went up to admitting and got me all checked in for surgery. Was in the bed by 10:30.
Now, surgery had been scheduled for 11 but they didn’t come for me until 1 p,m, So this young anesthesiologist comes to get me and says she is going to give me something to relax me while they wheel me into surgery. That’s the last thing I remember before waking up in recovery. I started to wake up and the first thing I see across the room is the number 28 and I started to laugh. It is my favorite number and I knew then that everything was going to be alright.
During the surgery they took out a patch of flesh that was 3 inches by 3 inches. That is just out of one side of my nose. I do not have the faintest idea how they could even find that much surface area inside a nose, but they did. The surgeon told lani that he removed the entire inside surface of the left nostril. They then took a six inch strip of skin from my shoulder just below the neck to graft back into the nose to speed the healing process and have as little scaring as possible.
The bad news is that when the doctor turned over the patch removed he could see cancer cells. The cells are a type that travel underneath the skin and do not go deep. He was able to get clear margins but it will be next week for the path reports on the lymph nodes removed. The surgeon now feels that I will need to follow up with radiation to insure that any microscopic cells will be killed off before they migrate to other areas. They do not want to risk any cells migrating toward the brain.
Recovery has been a snap. I have felt good with little or no pain. No one can understand why the lack of pain, except that I have always been numb from the neck up. When Lani saw how long the incision for the skin graft was, she figured that we would be in for 3 days of intense pain. But it didn’t happen. I have never felt this good after any surgery. Our only explanation is that the great physician, Jesus, laid his healing hand upon me. Thank you all again for your prayers. They have been effective and I am eternally grateful.