Tim went into surgery at 2:30 -- what a wait. As he was getting prepped and they gave him some "relaxing medicine" in his IV. Dr. Korper (who is the anesthesiologist and is also a member of our church) said that the relaxing medicine was kind of like a "truth serum". Yes it was. The truth was that my knight was somewhat scared about all that was happening to him. He didn't say that but when he took my hand and looked at me with those sleepy eyes and said, "No matter what happens, never doubt that I love you." it just about broke my heart. I knew he was worried....and I was worried.
My wait began. I went to the waiting room and couldn't help but to cry. I was there alone to wait. What if the lymph nodes were too close to the carotid artery and couldn't be removed as the fabulous Dr. O planned? I sat. I cried. I prayed. I read old magazines I brought with me so I could toss what I didn't want. I took a picture of the tall windows in the waiting room. I straightened the magazines on the waiting room tables and threw cups and soda bottles that people there before me had left behind in their haste to hear they could go see their loved ones that were waiting to see them. Their wait was over but mine went on. Finally I rested my head on the wall behind me and fell asleep. I don't know how long I dozed off for but I woke up to a feeling that someone was beside me. You know that feeling that someone is looking at you?....that is what woke me. I looked at the seat near me and there sat Dr. Korper's wife, Laurie. I have only met her once before and there she sat next to me announcing that she was there to wait with me until Tim came out of surgery! What a wonderful gesture to someone she barely knows. We talked about all sorts of things, Tim and his cancer diagnosis, our kids (their nine, our six), and lots of other things. She was like an old friend although I hardly knew her until yesterday.
After 3 hours and 15 minutes of surgery finally word came that Tim was in the recovery room and the fabulous Dr. O would be out to talk with me soon. I had to hope that the very fact that the surgery took so long that meant it was good news. Soon the fabulous Dr. O came out and told me that Tim was doing well. He said they were able to get the whole chain of lymph nodes out -- YEAH! Dare I ask how close the lymph nodes were to his carotid artery? He tells me they were VERY, VERY close and that had we waited to have radiation and chemo and then wait for the the lymph nodes to be evaluated (as the other doctors wanted to do), the lymph nodes would have compromised the carotid artery and would not have been able to be removed. Is there any doubt that prayers are answered? Not in my heart nor Tim's.
So my knight came home minus his lymph nodes on the left side of his neck, minus his exterior jugular vein and minus the muscle that runs down the side of his neck. My knight came home with an incision that goes from his earlobe, down his neck and around to the front just past his Adam's apple. My knight, according to the fabulous Dr. O, has hundreds of stitches in him. My knight has a pretty major "dent" up under his jaw bone but a dent that we will take any day over cancerous lymph nodes.
So life has battered and dented him a bit but he is as strong as ever. He is still preparing for further battle. And there is battle yet to come with the promise is radiation and chemo ahead. But, he is up for the fight.
(2 Chronicles 25:8 But if thou wilt go, do it, be strong for the battle...) The dragon has been partially taken down; he has been wounded and my knight will continue to stand tall and fight. I am here to aid him, to shine his armor, sharpen his sword, dust off his helmet and help us both remember the words of Richard G. Scott....
“Please learn that as you wrestle with a challenge and feel sadness because of it, you can simultaneously have peace and rejoicing”.
Today we feel peace and we are rejoicing.