STATIC DISCLAIMER: All the stuff in here is purely my opinions, and they tend to change depending on what mood I'm in. If you're going to get bitter if I say something about you that you don't like, then maybe don't read. I avoid using names as much as possible, and would request that people who know me do the same in their comments. Basically, I often vent my frustrations on here, so if you happen to be someone who frustrates me, expect to read a description of someone very much like you in here!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Royal North Shore - Rachel's Story

As some of you may know, a bit over a week ago now Rachel had surgery at Royal North Shore to treat suspected thyroid cancer. I'm not sure if I mentioned it on my blog, but because the pathology had so far been uncertain, they were going to do the operation in such a way that they could take half her thyroid, get it biopsied during the operation, and then if necissary take the rest out. They were also going to review her previous fine needle biopsy slides to see if they could get a more conclusive diagnosis.

On the day of the surgery (Wednesday last week), they advised us that they'd reviewed the pathology and it was almost certainly cancer, so as a result they were just going to take the whole thing out. It was supposed to be a fairly short operation - only a bit over an hour - but it ended up taking them three and a half. They were taking extra care around Rachel's vocal chord nerves, as they'd been told she sings, but the thyroid was apparently very close to those, and also was quite solid. The surgeon said normally you can cut it and it just kind of comes away, but with Rachel that wasn't the case.

I've found it interesting to try and find a way of describing the outcome of the surgery. Initially I was telling people that it was quite successful - the gland was out, and they believe that they got everything, eliminating the threat of cancer. However, the surgery was long and difficult, and they had to remove one of Rachel's parathyroid glands, which messed up her calcium levels for days. We actually wound up at the emergency department at Windsor Hospital on Friday night - the day Rachel was discharged from RNS - as her calcium levels dipped to the point where the muscles in her hands were starting to seize up. She had to stay in overnight. So in reality, the surgery went much worse then expected. However, the outcome of the surgery is that assuming the pathology confirms the surgeons belief that it was definately cancer, they believe they got it all and thus Rachel is now OK. It sounds like given the circumstances, the surgeons did an exceptional job, and I'm really pleased we elected to go to RNS to have this done, even though the 3 days Rachel was there was horendous for me (more about that later). Her voice appears unaffected, and her calcium levels are now starting to even out. There's still some smallish things to get sorted (calcium, thyroxin, RAI treatment) but they should hopefully be fairly straight-forward.

All in all, we're just thankful to God that we're on the other side of the surgery, and that it appears that although it was cancer, it has now been removed and will require only a fairly minor post-operative treatment to ensure it is completely gone.

Just thought I'd fill anyone in who might be looking here for updates.