Thursday, August 06, 2009
My sister was told a few short months ago that her tongue cancer was gone. The radiation and chemo had worked, apparently.
Then, a couple of weeks ago came the devastating news that it had returned, and the tumor on her tongue was so fast-growing that surgery was scheduled immediately.
This would be no ordinary surgery- it was scheduled to last 12 hours! It took place Tuesday.
A few days prior, my sister had noticed a suspicious lump on the other side of her tongue. At the outset of her surgery, that new lump was biopsied, and found to be cancerous.
The team of surgeons had to adjust their plan. Instead of removing one tumor, they'd be removing two. Instead of taking a skin graft from her arm, they'd have to take tissue and fat from her thigh, for the purpose of tongue re-construction.
The surgery lasted an unbelievable 14 hours. I was unable to travel across the country to be there, so I rely on reports from my brother.
He describes how shocking it is to see the incision circling her neck like a choker necklace. They did that to remove lymph nodes.
Her face is swollen and there are tubes- 24, he says, sticking out of her, connecting her to various machines. She has a tracheotomy and a food tube.
The staff warned the family members that if she got out of bed at all, she would be unable to walk. Yet the morning after surgery, she reportedly walked up and down the hallway, hauling the machinery with her.
Who knew that my sister had that sort of determination? She has never been challenged like this before, of course- nothing compares to this.
She can't speak, but apparently she is writing with amazing eloquence. Surpassing all expectations, she is the superstar of the cancer ward.
She is displaying a strength hitherto unknown, which we never would have known she had, which she would have never known she had.
Posted by B.S. at Thursday, August 06, 2009