The verdict is in…

Standard

I had my follow-up appointment with the surgeon today and he had the results of my biopsy. At this point the follicular cells are atypical, (yeah, I sound real smart, but I’m just regurgitating what the Dr. said)  but they do not show cancer cells. Praise the Lord! My doctor said normally with this type of result they would wait 3 months and biopsy it again. The other option is to go ahead and remove the nodule and the half of the thyroid it is on. They would biopsy the nodule after it is removed and if the results came back normal, I’d be done. If the biopsy shows cancerous cells, they would go back and take out the rest of the thyroid and give me radioactive iodine to kill it off.

There is a possibility my nodule has grown a little, and so, because of its size (close to 4 cm), we agree with the doctor to take it out. So right now the plan is to have the surgery the 16th of June. We were going to do it the 9th, but OK Mozart is that week. Bartlesville Choral Society is singing at a couple of concerts and, selfishly, I’d like to participate. That would also give me three months to “bounce back” before our regular season started up again. Plus, the doctor said it doesn’t have to be done right now, we could wait until the fall if we needed to.

It could be an outpatient procedure depending on how well the surgery goes, the most it would be is an overnight stay. I would be back to normal in a day or two. (I know, some of you are thinking “are you ever normal?” The answer to that is no, but I would be as normal as I ever am.) I’m trying to figure out if I could get a doctor’s note for breakfast in bed, no cooking, and no ironing for a week or something. But who am I kidding? I don’t iron as it is. I think I’m allergic.

Now we are just praying the surgery goes well and the subsequent biopsy comes back normal. I am a singer, so surgery in that area makes me a little nervous, but God is in control. Nothing will happen that He doesn’t allow.

Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers. My family and I appreciate it. I received quite a few messages, calls, and texts and they were all very encouraging. I also appreciate those of you who shared your personal experiences with me. It was a blessing to be reminded that thousands of people before me have traveled this road.

Advertisements

God Will Make This Trial a Blessing

Standard

So I have debated whether or not I should blog about our latest journey, but have decided to go ahead. Partly to keep all of this straight so I don’t forget something. More importantly, maybe through all of this it can be a blessing to someone, somewhere.

About a month ago, I found a knot on my throat. If I tilt my head back, it is very noticeable. It looks like a man’s Adam’s apple. Attractive, huh? 🙂 Not sure why I had never noticed it before, but there it was. I set up an appointment with my Dr., he said it was on my thyroid, and he ordered some tests. Blood tests to determine if my thyroid was functioning properly and an ultrasound to look at this mysterious lump. My blood work all came back normal, but he ordered more tests due to the ultrasound pictures. This new test was performed at the hospital in the nuclear medicine department on a Thursday and Friday. I had to swallow a radioactive iodine pill and then the technician would take pictures. The technician took out what looked like a small pipe bomb, opened it up, slid out a glass tube, took the only pill in that tube out and told me to swallow it. My thought was, “Seriously? You take that much care with one pill and you want me to put that into my body?” Haha. But I took it, only because she wasn’t wearing a hazmat suit. The first pictures were taken 4 hours after ingesting the pill, then the next morning, 24 hours after taking it. It felt like something out of some superhero movie. Some poor unsuspecting joe takes some pill and, poof, he has some weird super powers. (I have yet to figure out if I developed any. My husband wanted to take me to the airport and see if I could set off any sort of alarms. I think he was disappointed that I didn’t glow.)

Monday morning I received a call from my Dr’s office. The Dr. wanted me to come in that morning to discuss results. We found out I have what is called a cold nodule, which means it does not absorb any dye from the radioactive iodine pill. Cold nodules have a greater chance of thyroid cancer than a hot nodule. But just because it is a cold nodule does not guarantee it’s cancerous. They would need to do a biopsy. So I went to see a surgeon and he said they generally remove any nodule over 2 cm. and mine was 3 cm. (Which is just over an inch) But he wanted to do a biopsy first to see what we are dealing with. More than likely, due to its size, he will remove the half of the thyroid on which the nodule is located regardless of the outcome.

I had the biopsy this past Thursday. The radiologist told me my nodule was significantly large. (I can’t do anything on a small scale. Haha!) Modern technology amazes me. They used the ultrasound to locate the nodule and then the ultrasound helps guide the radiologist with his needle. They extracted some cells, then he used a different needle to “cut” a larger sample off. He thinks he got enough that we won’t have to do it again. They take samples of the nodule and will run the samples under the microscope to determine whether or not this is cancer. He told me he sees these nodules a lot (just maybe not as large as this one) and a majority of the time, they are benign. He said IF it is cancer, there are two major types. One is very curable, and one is not. The one that is not as curable is very rare and he said my nodule does not resemble that form of cancer. So now we wait. I have an appointment with the surgeon on Tuesday to discuss the results, so now I just hope they have the results by then.

I know that God is in control and He is not surprised by this new turn of events. I do have to pray my thoughts into captivity, though that part is getting easier. Job 13:15a says “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:” Job 23:10 says “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” If Job can go through all that he went through and still say that, who am I to complain? God has been so good to me and this situation does not change that. God is good. All the time. He has seen me through many medical situations and this is no different.

I’m sure some of you may want to know how to pray. God has given my husband and I a sense of peace during this. So I guess pray that God’s will be done and that the Lord will give my Drs. (and us) wisdom regarding the outcome of this biopsy. Whatever the Lord wants us to learn, we don’t want to miss it.

 

 

She Put in Her Two Cents

Standard

Our April lesson in our series “Save the Drama for Your Mama” was on the widow’s mite in Mark 12:41-44. One thing I’ve noticed, and am guilty of myself, is people have money for what they deem important.

In Mark 12:41 we are told that “Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury:” This tells me that Christ sees our giving. He sees everything. Nothing escapes him. The verse goes on to say “and many that were rich cast in much.” That’s great, right? If you have it, you should give. And you should give abundantly. Verse 42 states “And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.” That would have been the smallest denomination in use at that time. Maybe equal to our pennies. But many commentators believe it was all she had to live on for that day. Can you imagine? Giving your entire salary for one day? Notice it was a widow. She had no husband, no one else to contribute to the family finances.

In verse 43, Jesus calls his disciples over: “Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury.” I wonder what the disciples must have thought. “Really? You do realize she only put in two mites.” “Come on! Didn’t you see that guy just put in $100!” “What do you mean ALL? You mean to tell us her two mites were greater than all the other offerings put together?!” Sometimes the disciples were a little slow (much like we are.)

Jesus goes on to explain in verse 44. “For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” God does not see the gift as much as He sees the giver. William Barclay said, “The amount of the gift never matters so much as its cost to the giver, not the size of the gift, but the sacrifice.” “When it comes to our giving, God sees more than the portion: he also sees the proportion. Men see what is given, but God sees what is left and by that he measures the gift and the condition of our hearts.” (Warren Wiersbe, Be Courageous)

I’m not talking about tithing here. I think that is a totally different subject. We’re talking about giving above the tithe. (And to be honest, do we have to wait for a special offering at church to help those in need?) Our church ladies have been known to honor ministry wives with a special offering. This is above the tithe. This is something they do from their hearts. My husband has no idea who gives what, nor should he know. But God does. Like I told our ladies, if you tell your friend you can’t participate in a special offering all the while you are on your latest smartphone driving to a salon to get a pedicure with a large Starbucks drink in hand, I would say your priorities are out of order. Smartphones, pedicures, and Starbucks are not evil. (I enjoy all 3) But if we indulge in those things, and neglect the ministry, something is askew.

I looked up what people spend their money on. Let me preface by saying these things in and of themselves are not bad.

  • Cell phones: 90% of Americans have one. 58% have smartphones.
  • Starbucks: (this hits home) though I couldn’t find an exact amount for this specific company, I did find that the average American spends $1,000/year on coffee. (yes, sadly, I am among this statistic. Though I’m sure my spending isn’t nearly that high.)
  • Pets: Americans spent $56 billion on pets last year alone.
  • Movies: (going to the theater) 2012 reported $10.84 billion on ticket sales
  • Entertainment: (buying movies, music, concerts, etc.) projected to reach $597 billion by the year 2016.

C.S. Lewis, in his book “Mere Christianity”, says, “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc. is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot because our charitable expenditures excludes them.” When is the last time you gave to a special offering, helped someone in need, or bought a struggling single parent some groceries?

In II Corinthians 8:1-5 the Bible tells us of a church that “…in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” They gave as though they were rich. They didn’t complain about their husband’s income, their small house, their old car, (yes, I know there were no cars in the Bible. I’m sure they didn’t complain about their old donkeys either.) 🙂 or the meager provisions in the kitchen cabinet. According to verse 5, they “…first gave their own selves to the Lord…” They were fully surrendered to the Lord. “When we give ourselves to the Lord, we then give Him all we have, to be called for and disposed of according to His will. Whatever we use or lay out for God, it is only giving to Him what is His own.” (Matthew Henry) I’m not sure why we act like what we have is ours to keep. We should be giving back to the One who gave to us first.

We really should be careful in our complaining about our financial situations. I think we need to look at other situations and say, “Thank you, Lord. My situation could be so much worse.” Not to make ourselves feel superior, but to concentrate on God’s goodness and blessings. Out of that gratitude we should give, and give liberally.

Captain Levy, a believer from Philadelphia, was once asked how he could give so much to the Lord’s work and still possess great wealth. The Captain replied, “Oh, as I shovel it out, He shovels it in, and the Lord has a bigger shovel.”