I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer this morning, my melanoma specialist Prof Saw will find me a throat specialist who can see me locally but who operates in one of the Sydney hospitals. Then the throat specialist will liaise with the neurosurgeon who wants to operate now on my brain aneurysm to see who gets to operate first. Not a good day.
I wrote that to a few friends yesterday. I was in shock, I had gone to the doctor to discuss some options and he read out the biopsy report and there it was, the biopsy had shown a tumor in the node that had doubled in size. A bit of a surprise as the last report a year ago had said the nodes were all benign. But my mother had had her thyroid out in her fifties so I guess it is familial. Dash it all. Another operation to endure. I know it is my age, for some of us reaching 70 is one bridge too far.
So it is a waiting game again. I will hear from the melanoma specialist again with the information on the throat specialist, he or she will get in touch with me, maybe get some more tests done and then book me in for an operation. It would be nice if I had a choice but I don't. Remember I had the other operations in order to see my grandkids grow up? I guess the same applies.
The aneurysm in the brain operation is more serious of course, no laughing that one away. But an aneurysm is a small unexploded brain bomb and it is either get it tied off or live with the uncertainty of when or where it will detonate and blow. That is indeed a dilemma. So I will have to screw up my courage for that one. It is a pity somone else couldn't make the decision for me but I am still in my right mind so the decision is all mine.
So how do I feel? Not confident that I have a future. I say that knowing the side effects of both operations, the downside of doing hospital chaplaincy. Some people come through operations so well, recovering fully, some people don't. Either way it is a long recovery and life will be different to what it is now. But that is the good news in what may be an end-of-life experience. I say that because one of my younger friends (58) from my stroke recovery group died this week after two massive bleeds, one on the left side of the brain one on the right side. Life is uncertain.
Where does my Christian faith come into all of this? I don't know. I have always known life was uncertain, I was a caregiver for all those years and watched Ray have strokes, falls, fits and seizures. I saw how very brave he was and how he struggled back each time. I want to be as brave and determined as he was. I want to go into the operations knowing that things can go wrong but be brave enough to be able to take that chance. That is what living by faith is all about.
So if I write a few down blogs or put comments on Facebook that don't sound like my normal cheerful self you will know why. The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike so don't feel sorry for me or worry about me. But do keep prayers and positive thoughts in your mind for me for the next couple of months as I deal with some of these awkward decisions. And help me to keep smiling when there is not a lot to smile about please.