Friday, January 25, 2013

and June turns into January and behold another year

I thought I would post again that weekend in June and for whatever reason I can't remember....I did not.
I have good intentions as you can imagine.  Don't we all!  I put it out there in the blog world that I would give it my best effort to post more than once every three years and I have at least accomplished that.
2012 was an interesting and challenging year. I won't say that it was bad. It was scary healthwise, it was filled with loss for some of my friends and disturbing discoveries for other good friends. 

As a result of my nasty health scare, I quit smoking.  I have now been smoke free since September 13, 2012.  This was the day the doctor told me he was pretty convinced that I had cancer.  This all started in 2011.   I went to my family doctor about a lump on the side of my neck.  She was pretty convinced that it was a blocked gland and that a round or two of antibiotics would clean that bad boy right up.  I took all the pills and the lump just never went away.  I ignored it for a few months and when I saw her again in August of 2012 she decided to send me for an ultrasound that led me to see a specialist.  This amazingly brilliant, freakishly weird Frankensteinish looking man (a laptop was permanently attached to his arm I swear!!)  took one look at that lump and pulled out a camera that was at the end of a long hose and shoved it in my nose and down my throat, took a few pictures and then filled a needle with greenish red fluid that was aspirated from that enormous lump.  Pictures to see if he could see anything in my throat and the biopsy to determine if the growth was in fact cancerous.  The tumour is on your perotid gland he told me.  It will need to be removed.  The significant risk is paralysis of the side of your face, much like a stroke victim.  One week he said, he would see me in one week for the results.  The days always seem to be longer when you are waiting for news like that.  12 days later when they hadn't called I made a bold move and called his office to ask for results.  They had just recieved them but I couldn't see the doctor for another 3 days and they were unable to give them to me over the phone.  Those 15 days were pure torture for the Middle Kid and I.  She's doing her PhD in science and has access to some interesting research papers and she had diagnosed what she thought this was and she joined me that day for the results.     Results of the Biopsy...inconclusive, not cancer but very abnormal cells that require immediate removal.  Next step MRI and surgery and it was all happening very quickly.   The MRI showed that the tumour was not on the perotid gland this was now even more important to follow up with surgery for deep tissue biopsies.  Now the diagnosis was possible lymph cancer and the internet is not always your friend....the prognosis for that cancer is not good 12% survival rate for 5 years.   That was the day I came home, sat on my back deck and proceeded to say nothing and smoke what was left of a very full pack of smokes.  I had my last one at 11:15pm and have never taken another puff. 
Needless to say I was three weeks smoke free when I went into surgery.  I signed the papers that said he could biopsy anything he wanted to and remove anything he felt necessary.  The Middle Kid and my wonderful Mom came with me to the hospital for surgery.  That day of all days, things seemed to be moving along well in the OR and my surgery was bumped ahead almost a full hour.  From there I only know what the Middle Kid tells me.  Apparently the Ultrasound, the CT scan and the MRI were all wrong and the damned tumour was on my perotid gland.  Turns out it was exactly as Middle Kid diagnosed it originally...non cancerous Wharton's tumour and thankfully all that is affected after the removal is my right ear.  I can hear but I can't feel it or my jawline or my neck.  Hubby has taken to cuffing me on that side for fun....just kidding!!  Now the only risk is that I get another tumour exactly like that one on the other side...apparently for whatever reason this is something that happens 80% of the time.  I hope that this stat is decreased with me quitting smoking!

So my health scare was just that a health scare.  Not everyone I know is as lucky and I am totally blessed.