After not hearing from my surgeon yesterday, I was wondering why he still had not stopped in today. The reason became clear when he eventually arrived around 5:00pm tonight. The pathologist's report wasn't what we wanted to hear.
The cancer I am dealing with is apparently has "very aggressive features" and it still remains in my tongue and elsewhere. Basically...
- The cancer on the front of the tongue remains in the cells adjacent to the tumor and extends beyond where they felt was an obvious "clear margin."
- The cancer follows the remaining left nerve trunks in my tongue.
- The suspicious lymph node in my neck indeed has cancer cells in it. More concerning is that the cells are bursting through to the outside of the lymph node.
During the surgery, I will have a tracheotomy, installing a tube through my anterior throat so I can breathe without air passing over my tongue. The tongue is likely to swell, filling my mouth cavity. After the surgery, I will end up in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) for at least a day, then transferred back to a hospital room for another week of care.
Because of the aggressive nature of the cancer and the lymph node involvement, I will need chemotherapy after all, in addition to radiation.
I guess I'm feeling numb emotionally right now. There is so much to process. It even hurts to cry with the tube penetrating my neck and abdomen. Please pray. Just when I thought I was looking up from the deepest of valley's, the floor of the valley gave way dropping me into a dark cave. All I can do is look up and ask God to show me His face amidst the dust of the impact of the collapse. He does have me in his hands. I know that to be true.
My fleshly body is going through Hell, yet amidst all of this, I remain a blessed man. I have so much. So much more than I ever could have dreamed.