God is so good. Praise God that so far, everything has gone according to what Dr. Futran expected.
The cancer was all the way at the back of the tongue, but the Lord answered prayer that they were able to remove the cancer through his mouth, despite how challenging it was. So, the easiest procedure was done and they didn't need to cut his jaw.
They removed all of the lymph nodes from the right side of his neck as a precaution, in case any of the cancer had spread there. They also removed a few lymph nodes from the left side of his neck, but at least from looking at all of them, they didn't think there was any cancer in them. They sent the removed tumor as well as the lymph nodes to the pathologist to make sure the margin they cut around the tumor is clean as well as the lymph nodes. We should know the results in a week. Lord-willing, it will all be clean and he will not need radiation.
God is so gentle. There was a time when modern medicine didn't exist, people died young left and right, and there was nothing anyone could do about it. But God is so gentle so as to spare our family from such loss. Thank the Lord that He doesn't seem to be taking my precious Andrew away.
Andrew looks great. He has one long incision on the right side of his neck and a shorter one on the left side. It looks worse than it actually is, because he has stiches (and they don't cover them with bandages). He can't talk, so he just writes, gives a thumbs up, or shakes his head.
As for his actual tongue, they cut out the bottom of the back right side, which is about a third of his tongue. They then folded the top right side of his tongue over the part that was cut out. Since it is a muscle, some of it may grow back. His face is not swollen at all, so in that regard, he looks much better than I did when I got my wisdom teeth out!
The best therapy is just using his tongue and throat. So they are encouraging him to drink clear fluids right now. He has even used his voice a little bit. A nurse is also going to help him get up and walk a little later, so he doesn't get blood clots from not moving around much today. His jaw hurts up to his ear like it did before, but he said his neck feels fine. He says his pain is a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10, but he often asks for more medicine. The liquid medicine also causes some nausea.
Dr. Futran said he should be able to go home on Monday. A speech therapist will visit him tomorrow and help him more with swallowing. Hopefully, he should eventually regain his full ability to swallow. I'm not sure if he'll need speech therapy, though, since just talking is the best speech therapy.
As for me, I am doing well. My good friend, Heather, from California just moved up here this week, so she was able to stay with me the whole day right up until I was about to go in and see Andrew around 5pm. Andrew's dad was with us also, while his mom watched the kids at home.
Andrew did really well this morning. We had to arrive two hours early at 7:15 a.m. While we were in one of the pre-something rooms waiting an hour or so for the nurse to take him, we were even laughing together, even though Andrew was nervous at the same time. I felt happy. Then, when it was time to give him a kiss goodbye, all of a sudden I felt like bursting out crying.
Once Heather arrived, though, I chattered ceaselessly, hardly taking a breath all day. I didn't think I felt anxious, but at lunch, even though I was hungry, I found that I couldn't eat. Heather and my father-in-law said I was probably nervous but might not realize it till it was all over. Then, when Dr. Futran came to the waiting room after the surgery and was telling Andrew's dad and I that everything went well, I started glancing around the consultation room for a waste basket. I felt like throwing up. I guess I was really nervous and it was all the relief after a full day of unknowingly holding my breath. I was so thankful to the Lord for answering all our prayers.
I love Andrew so much. Somehow, before this trial, I often managed to complain about being so far from family and longing for sunshine during rainy season. But one thing the Lord has been teaching me through this trial is to live fully in the moment. God's grace truly is only sufficient for today. More than that, I prefer just to tackle the next few minutes, because who knows, that may be all we have. Before the end of the day, The Lord could even take us.
When I see life in such a bite-sized piece as the next 15 minutes, it helps me to think clearly on what's true and to give thanks for all that God has given me. It is only fear of the future that often ruins things. Even if the moment is not enjoyable, it's not so bad unless we fear it's going to last beyond what we can imagine enduring.
But when I just look at right now, I realize I get to be married to the most amazing person I have ever met, and he is alive and here with me. I get Andrew and he is mine. And our children bring us such joy and are in good health. My cup overflows! When I am fully living in the moment, I see so clearly how God has given me such richness.
The true joy and peace that the Lord has given me through this time can only be supernatural. If it could be mustered, everyone would do it all the time. More than anyone or anything, it is so good to know the LORD, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, our Rock and our Sustainer.
I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.