The good news this week is that there is no bad news! Our team met cancer on the battle field and, apparently, delivered a smashing defeat. One of the problems with the enemy cancer is that his choice of battlefield is always the body and the collateral damage caused by the fight to defeat him has consequence for that body. During the operation a horizontal incision about a foot long was made, one of my ribs broken to allow room for the operation to proceed and about half of my left lung removed. The lung, the rib and the flesh and muscle involved has seen considerable trauma and is now involved in healing which provides some discomfort that, my surgeon, Dr. Rod McKee tells me will go on for some time. The upshot of this is that I don’t get a lot of sleep because I have only a very limited sleeping position, This position is on my right side and in which I am lying on some parts of my body not effected by the surgery. Since this position cannot be changed without infringing on a part of the body that was affected it is very limiting. So I get very cramped after about an hour and have to get up for a while to allow myself to un-kink. This however is but a very small price to pay for the elimination of cancer from my body and also gives me a lot of time to write at some strange hours of the night and early morning.
Late yesterday morning I went, with second daughter Barbara Smith up from Florida for a week to take care of dad and Nurse Joan, to visit Rod who proclaimed that I was healing nicely, that I had a bit too much fluid in my left lung cavity and, most importantly for all who were there, that no trace of expansion or migration of the cancer was found in the materials that had been removed during the operation. The tumor, itself, which measured five centimeters, was completely removed along with the entire upper lobe of my left lung. Other tissues and lymph nodes were removed as well and sent to a lab to be checked for signs of cancer. No indications were found. The fluid will be reduced by a strong diuretic starting tomorrow morning and keeping me close to home and john for the next couple of days.
The next step is to revisit my oncologist Dr. Danny Simms to find out if there is a need to pursue any additional course of action such as chemo or radiation. I have an appointment next Monday the 7th for this consultation. More on this in my next blog post.
In speaking with the many cancer survivors who I have come in contact with over the past couple of months I have been cautioned that cancer is a very clever and devious foe that has the ability to disappear and later pop up at unexpected times in unexpected places. So my team and I must be vigilant to guard against missing the early signs of it's return in case that does happen. You, my readers, were a strong part of the team that worked hard at the spiritual aspect of the battle and whose efforts proved to be, I am convinced, one of the deciding factors in our fight. I want you to understand how much I owe you for that help and how much I appreciate your prayers, thoughts and presence. Please stay with us in case there is a next round. The other part of the team were the great people at Exeter Hospital. I have never met a more consistently wonderful group of people and I am extremely thankful for their treatment, care and kindness and proud to have been among them. We may or may not be finished, but for now, it looks like the team decisively won this battle!