Saturday, September 05, 2015

Broken or not?

Hello, friends,
The previous post was password protected because we needed to get the news to friends and family first. We are facing a rather interesting September.

Two surgeries are over already! Our little kitten, Chewy, had to be neutered on Sept. 2. All went well and he is none the worse for wear.

Arno's brother in Australia had to have cataract surgery on Sept. 3. The eye is still a little scratchy, but we have full hope that all will be clear very soon. The second eye will be done later this month.
My brother in South Africa will have complicated surgery on September 9.

My surgery on Sept. 8, as posted before --- also the day our schools start again after the long summer holidays! We have to make sure we get to the hospital early enough.
[Jenni will post updates during the day to this blog. To see if there is anything new if you come back to the same post, hit F5 on your keyboard, or just refresh / reload your browser.]

Added to this busy schedule is that Arno needs more surgery, two months after his first surgery. He will be in another hospital 8 days after mine, on Sept. 16. Wonderful friends are driving to take him to the hospital, maybe visit or bring items, since I would be out of commission and can of course not drive yet.

  • Sept 2, 2014: I notice the lump on the left side of Arno's neck. 
  • Saw our doctor who ordered an ultrasound. 
  • Ultrasound found a lump of 7 cm on the thyroid, as well as two nodules on the right side. 
  • Try to schedule a biopsy --- finally managed to get one at the end of November 2014
  • By the way, we were told several times that a thyroid nodule or lump (quite common) is biopsied when it gets to 2 cm or about 1 inch. 
  • We were told the biopsy was clear, no cancer. So - we had to wait for surgery. 
  • Several months went by and after about five months of no surgery date, we called the doctor's office again. One of the (rather unfriendly) women said it "would take another year". 
  • That was unacceptable, so we made another appointment to see the doctor. 
  • His comment: "Why do I see you in my office and not on my operating table?" When we told him what the women said, he went with us to order them that surgery must happen by August at the latest. 
  • On June 14, I had my collapse and spent four days in hospital. During that time, he got the call that his surgery would be in July. 
  • On July 15, the left side of his thyroid was removed. We had to wait for pathology results. 
  • A month went by --- no results. I was told to keep calling the office, since they might not call us. Five weeks - no results back yet. That was after we were told originally that results would be back as early as ten days after surgery. 
  • Almost six weeks after the surgery, the results were finally back and we arranged to see the surgeon again. I quote: The removed lump was 7.5 cm in size. Of that, 6 cm is cancer.
  • When the surgeon delivered this verdict, I told him that his biopsy in November came back clear - no cancer. Did he put the needle in the tiny part where there was no cancer? 
  • Then surgery was suddenly scheduled to happen immediately, within three weeks. When I said I have brain surgery on Sept. 8, the surgeon let fly a rather strong exclamation. 
  • Is our health system broken? You tell me.  
  • Arno will have a full thyroidectomy --- a year after the lump was first noticed. 
Thank you to everyone who cares, who prays, who sent messages or cards, offered help, driving, cooking, fun and joy! We love you, we appreciate you and we are being held up by you. 


Marina Smith said...

I pray and trust that all goed well. You are a very special lady!!

Marina Smith said...

I pray and trust that all goed well. You are a very special lady!!

Colette Johannesburg said...

Marlene - you truly are a very heroic woman! I read this morning that your tumour was benign - Dankie Liewe Heer! - and Evy sent me this blow by blow account of your journey through this 'brain bump business' and as I read through all your notes and viewed the many photo's - sheesh, girl, do you ALWAYS smile? I never wear hats but if I did - I surely take my hat off to you! But you have done the hat thing so beautifully with all the girly, pink bits and I have to tell you I admire you *so* much as you have been what many people would describe as 'been to hell and back' but you just keep on smiling, you are so amazingly upbeat - yikes, you are like the Ever Ready Bunny! You just keep ploughing through whatever comes on your path and it's humbling to see just how an amazingly strong a person you are!

I wish you fast improvement and girl, you carry those stitches with so much aplomb and courage that I think if you could bottle that incredible up-beat spirit which you have - that you could sell that worldwide and become a millionaire in no time!

Sending you heaps of love and warm hugs because it's been truly inspirational to read of your journey through what would have totally incapacitated many people but you just bravely tackled everything with a grin and good humour.

All the best with hubby's op! I hope he does as well as you have and that once both of your stitches/staples and everything else has been removed, that you can look at one another's 'war wounds' knowing you supported each other through and that you can walk hand in hand into the sunset to enjoy good health in all the years to come.

Colette xoxo

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