Preparing for surgery #3

“Seek justice. Love your neighbor. These two imperatives do not conflict.” Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff

Since my last post, I’ve had ultrasound scans, painful biopsies, consults with two surgeons and several other appointments. As mentioned before, I am no longer responsive to radiation treatment, and since cancer still remains, surgery is the only option. So, my third thyroid cancer surgery will be October 24, 2013, at the University of Chicago (Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine). This will be my third surgeon and third hospital in the last year.

Bruising that lasted for over 2 weeks from the biopsies. (looked like awkward hickeys for a bit)

Bruising that lasted for over 2 weeks from the biopsies. (looked like awkward hickeys for a bit)

Since I’ve already had two extensive surgeries in the same area, this surgery will be much more difficult and the risks increase substantially. I pray this will be my last surgery for awhile, but without the option of radiation, it is not likely. It’s going to be tedious from now on.  Normally, radiation  would take care of any remaining disease, no matter how small, but I don’t have this option anymore. Essentially, I will be waiting for masses to be large enough to remove surgically.

My biggest fear going forward is my voice. It is always a risk to injure the vocal chords in these operations, but the risk is much greater now– and nearly certain. They say over time, injections and additional surgery can correct speaking problems resulting from such an injury (yay!), but not so much singing. The idea of losing my singing voice at 23-years-old is difficult to comprehend. Music–playing and singing–is the way I cope, and if this is taken from me, it will be tough. Permanent or temporary damage to my speaking voice also poses a challenge in regards to my legal studies and career. I was joking the other day and said, “How am I supposed to be a ‘voice for the voiceless,’ without a voice?” hah. I’m praying the tumors they see around my vocal nerves are not attached and thus more easily removable.

My new surgeon has a very targeted and less invasive approach, so it’s likely they won’t need to reopen my entire incision again! I’m hoping this means my recovery time will be much shorter. Assuming my calcium levels are kept under control, it also looks like most of my recovery will be at home and not in the hospital–maybe even as little as ONE NIGHT in the hospital. Challenge accepted.

In the midst of all of this, I’m still pushing through and tackling my first year of law school. I’ve had several days of classes on either side of appointments/scans/biopsies, and sometimes I feel as though I’m living two different lives. I’m blessed to have friends who go above and beyond to keep me up to date in school and above all else, make me laugh. 🙂

The more I learn and the more I invest in school and legal work, the more excited I am. Likewise, the amount of time I feel out of my element is overcompensated by the number of times I am affirmed in this calling. Something deep within me stirs when I think of the ways I can use law to help people and truly make a difference. I’m ready to go, I’m anxious to start, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to create a life-story worth reading and one reflective of God’s love for each person individually, wherever they are and in light of their unique value. Let’s do this.

Law school friends at my Colts bar with me. I won an autographed Peyton Manning mini helmet with their help!

Law school friends at my Colts bar with me. I won an autographed Peyton Manning mini helmet with their help!

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