Wednesday, July 20, 2011

my 'tumor tale' part 3

The Lord knew that my nerves were almost worn out, and He allowed the CAT scan to be scheduled within days. Throughout all these tests I kept thinking, "Praise the Lord we live in America and NOW in our history....all these medical tests save lives!" The CAT scan was smooth - except for the moment when the nurse said, "I will need your signature on this release form. This form simply states that I have informed you of the dangers of a CAT scan. The iodine we will inject in you has been known in very rare cases to cause severe reactions...even death."

Well, okee dokee then...where do I sign? :)

We waited just a few days and I received a call from the ENT doctor informing me that my tests were still unclear to him. Because of this, he was taking the scans to a 'tumor clinic'....a meeting the best doctors and surgeons have to discuss tumors. Should I be proud? :)

After all these great doctors looked at my scans, it was agreed that I did have a glomus jugulare tumor. My ENT doctor recommended that I see a surgeon at the University of Wisconsin hospital. "He is the best", my doctor said. Unfortunately, because he is the best, he was also very busy. These scans took place in March, and I was unable to see the surgeon until May 23. I was sure that I would need medication for my frazzled nerves by then.

May 23 finally came and we met with the surgeon. He was kind and thorough. He talked my husband and I through our options, all the while knowing that surgery was really the only route to take. Surprisingly, I left his office feeling better than when we entered. I had my answers. I felt somewhat prepared for the things to come. I knew what was coming.....and while it wouldn't be fun or easy, it was manageable.

His nurse called the next day and my surgery was scheduled for July 5....waiting again. :) (could it be that patience is one of the lessons God wanted me to learn?? :)) I was still feeling calm about the whole surgery....AND THEN.... :)....I started looking on-line. Oh boy. I wanted to find a first hand account of what I was REALLY in for. I wanted to know. Well, I found it.

And I cried.

I found pictures. I found stories. I found it all.

It was bad.

In my emotional state, I allowed myself to get really worked up. My doctor told me about MY tumor and the stories I was reading were not ME. Mine, in God's mercy, wasn't as bad, or in the same location, as all of the horror stories I was reading. Was it going to be fun? NO.
Was it going to be easy? NO.

Again, I claimed the verse, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." Is. 26:2

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Glomus Jugulare Tumor Part 2

We live in a small town, so we do not have an ENT (ear, nose and throat doctor) available every day. In my small-town clinic, the ENT comes once a month. After my doctor recommended that I see him, she noted that 'luckily' he was at our clinic that very day. Unfortunately, he was unable to see me that day. My appointment with him would not be for six long weeks. Those weeks of waiting were looooooong. I didn't know what was wrong with me, and despite my doctor's assurances that nothing major was wrong with me, I was still very nervous. I didn't know what was wrong - serious or minor - I just knew that whatever the 'spot' was, it would have to be removed.

When I met with the ENT those weeks later, he was great. He took a lot of time looking in my 'good' ear (which he declared to be 'beautiful'. HA) and then in the ear that was aching. After the exam he told me what he thought I had.....a glomus tumor that is easily removed by laser. You lift up the eardrum, laser the tumor out and you are good to go. He said I would have to have a MRI to confirm this first, but really, no big deal. He also said, almost in passing, that there is another kind of glomus tumor - a glomus jugulare- that is really would be hard to remove and could possibly cause of lot of issues, but really, not to worry about that kind of tumor because it is so rare.

So, my MRI was scheduled for the next Saturday, and I left the doctor's office feeling fairly calm, knowing my issue was really no big deal.

Have you ever had an MRI? I hadn't. In fact, I had never really had ANY kind of medical testing. The MRI was uneventful - I didn't panic, and it went quickly. I saw pictures of my brain....yes, I have one. :)

On Monday morning I was getting our son ready for school and he and Andy were just about ready to walk out the door when the phone rang. It was the ENT doctor.
"So Debbie, I'm looking at your scans from the MRI. They didn't get really good pictures, but it looks like I am seeing a hint of a glomus jugulare...." He kept talking but at that point I started to get light-headed and had to sit down. The doctor wanted better pictures so he was going to schedule a CAT scan. He told me not to panic, just to wait for the results of the next scan.

Andy and I talked for a moment - both of us in a bit of shock- and then he had to leave. Fortunately (and a rare occasion) the girls were still sleeping. When Andy walked out the door I fell on my knees and started to cry....I was praying, but no real words were've prayed like that before, I'm sure. After a few minutes I stood up and walked into the kitchen. I looked out my kitchen window, and on the hillside behind my house were 2 deer. Now, that might not be a big deal to most, but for me, that is one of the ways that I know God is showing His love to me....when I see a deer I hear "I LOVE YOU, DEBBIE" from Jesus.

I saw those 2 deer and was reminded by Jesus, "I LOVE YOU. YOU ARE NOT ALONE."

Glomus Jugulare Tumor Part 1

I promised God that when this 'adventure' was over I would give Him the praise - NO MATTER WHAT. So, in attempt to give Him just a small amount of the praise He deserves, I will tell a pretty detailed tumor story.

When I was first diagnosed with my tumor I looked on-line for any information I could find about it. There was little to no information to be found. This is a really rare tumor. So, if you are one of those 'random google-ers' who found this blog and are feeling put off by 'religious' talk - don't let that stop you from continuing to read...I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you find. :)

I don't know exactly when my ear first started feeling strange, but around Thanksgiving of last year is when it got really noticeable. I felt a 'pulsing' and slight pressure from time to time in my left ear. I ignored it, thinking it was probably an ear infection. I don't like to go to the doctor, so I waited - hoping my ear would heal on its own. Finally on a Sunday afternoon in January, I went to a walk-in clinic for antibiotics. Quickly diagnosed with an ear infection, I went home armed with Amoxicillin and the knowledge that I would feel better in 10 days or less. The 10 days went quickly, but I felt no improvement. I waited a few days longer and then went to see my own doctor. She looked in my ear for a long time.....and then she said, "You have a small spot. I want you to see an ENT."

My heart sunk. Suddenly, I was very nervous.