Post First Surgery:
Goal: 1. Remove more skin around the original cancer spot on Walter's arm
2. Locate and remove the lymph nodes that connect to the original cancer spot
a. To see if the cancer spread to the nodes
Our Surgen Dr. Harmon was able to detect and remove three lymph nodes under my left arm. He also removed the rest of the tissue around the original tumor. Luckily for me, Dr Harmon was able to pull my skin together on my arm to avoid an open wound or worse yet a skin graft.
Initially on the operating table they sliced each node and found no cancer. However, after further testing(days later) in the labs they found 3mm of cancer on one node.
ByFeb 16th, we had to prepare ourselves for more surgery to remove the remainder of nodes in Walter's armpit while removing the tissue around the original nodes where cancer was found. We had a day to schedule all scans (to look for cancer in all of Walter's vital organs etc).
Walter: I was crushed. I was honestly hanging my hat on the results being negative. I honestly don't remember the rest of the day Tuesday. I was in quite a fog and hoping that maybe the information was wrong and it wasn't going to be cancer. Michele had a difficult time that day as well. We called my parents and they came back over that night to help us through the next few days.
Wednesday Feb 17th:
I went to go to my PET/CT scan and the machine ended up breaking down. Talk about playing with your emotions. Why would the machine break down, maybe this is a sign and I don't have to go through this anymore. So onto my post op/pre op appointment with Dr. Harmon. He said my scar was healing great and explained what I could expect for this next surgery. I still could not believe I was dealing with this issue. The labs did come back and confirm the cancer in one node. Since I was not in the mode to prolong this, I decided to go ahead with the surgery.
That night I finally broke down. I just couldn't deal with this anymore. Why was this happening and then guilt, there are others who are worse off than me and I should just suck this up and deal with it. I have become closer to God through this experience and the only way I survived the various tests etc. was through prayer. God helped me get through this process along with everyone's prayers. So thank you all again for praying for me and my family.
Thursday Feb 18th:
Second surgery. I had my final scans that morning and that afternoon I went in one more time. Dr. Harmon was able to see my nodes, which is not usually the case, so he did not have to remove as much as he thought he would. I have a drain inplace now and when I get to a certain level I can get it removed. All the scans came back negative so that is great news.
Since Friday morning I have been just sitting around and recovering from the second surgery. It is taking longer than I was hoping, but I have to keep telling myself it is ok to relax and let others help me. I have been able to finally write this down and put it out there for people to see and read. Each day is getting a little easier to handle and deal with the news and my recovery.
We had a group from our church come over on Sunday Feb 21st and do a prayer session. I have never been a part of something like that before and it was really cool. I am not one to be the center of attention or outword in my faith, but this experience is slowly changing me for the better.
Thanks again for all of your thoughts and prayers and I will post some more information in the next couple of days.
What's Next: Interferon Treatment (starting March 22) We will post more later on this.