I got sick, a tracheal irritation, the weekend of Labor Day from removing old carpet in our house that we are selling. The complications from this episode led the doctors to find a malignant growth in the right side of my neck. The two are not related. The coughing from the irritation burst some blood vessels in my neck on the right side and in treating this we found the tumor. My voice loss is due to the swelling from the blood and now from the tumor which was aggravated by the whole episode. These are pressing on the nerve to the vocal chord and it is temporarily paralyzed. The doctors assure me it will be totally functional when the tumor shrinks. The prognosis is very positive for this type of malignancy and is totally curable when caught this early. I will begin chemo on Monday which will consist of three aggressive treatments over a nine week period. The tumor is expected to completely dissolve but if not then surgery to remove any remaining cells. Radiation will follow for good measure. The oncologist is working with me to keep me working and has graciously scheduled the treatments to allow me to be good to go for all of the performances with my college groups between now and the end of the semester. I really need to be able to work and continue with my passion through all of this! I want you to know this because you are so dear to me and I know you will send good thoughts and prayers our way as we travel this road for the next few months. Don't be sad but rather rejoice with me that this is fixable. I am acutely aware that many, many people do not get this positive an outlook. How can I keep from singing!
Monday, October 14, 2013
A New Journey Begins!
Big Creek Trail - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Since no human has visited the GSMNP (legally, that is) since October 1, I bet there's a family of big black bears that have taken over this amazing lunch spot my hiking bud and I enjoyed last April. It was a perfect day as the hike was worth every step and enabled me to mark another trail off my map that I'd been wanting to do for a long time.
This post brings answers to questions and news I'd hoped I wouldn't have to tell. My sweet Bill has been diagnosed with a malignancy in his neck. Because his explanation to a group of his friends is so much better than mine, I am going to copy and paste it below. It is lengthy and if you choose not to read any further, please know that I understand completely. The blogging community is unique in that we find each other through a common interest and develop a friendship from there. You came to this blog looking for a weight loss/healthy living source of encouragement. Some came because they enjoyed reading about our travels and my hiking. Some came because you are our personal friends and for some odd reason, get a kick out of reading the stuff on my mind that comes out through my fingers. I am acutely aware that NONE of you came to read about a journey through cancer treatment. I can't promise what this blog will be from this point forward. I will be honored if you choose to stay no matter how much or how little I post, but I do understand if you choose otherwise.
Having said that, here is Bill's summary IN HIS OWN WORDS...............
What amazes me is these words are completely honest and sincere. To say we are both stunned is putting it mildly. No way did we EVER expect this and there was no indication of any problem. We believe nothing happens by chance and we certainly believe that circumstances were orchestrated so that this would be found before it grew any more.
Yes, we have both had complete meltdowns, but they don't last long and for the most part, we are just simply taking one day at a time, anxious to get his treatment started to see how he responds and looking forward to the excellent results we are told should happen.
In the way that works for your own faith journey, please remember Bill in these two very specific ways. 1) First and foremost, that the treatment works, and 2) that he is able to tolerate the chemo and continue to work. This will be a solace for him and will keep him motivated. He loves his work, he loves the students he teaches and he is at his finest when he is making music!
I have no intentions of abandoning the blog, but neither do I make any promises of how often I will post. It is quite possible I will use this as a means to document our journey down this road. We will just have to see. You have been here for me and have been a source of encouragement on so many levels for 3 1/2 years now. How could I think this will be any different?