There is no one that has experienced the past few months quite like my wife Krystle. Though many spouses express that an illness of their husband or wife is more difficult than they had imagined, Krystle experienced this illness in a far more palpable way than most.
Krystle, going through nursing school this entire time, was surprised by some suggestions in school as to the possible severity of some of my symptoms. Many of my symptoms were used as examples in class for cancers like Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and Hurthle Cell Thyroid Cancer; moments in time where it seemed that her worst fears were coming true, only to be unable to make a difference in the outcome. We were waiting on CT scans and biopsies to make more definite diagnoses and predictions of what was to come. Nothing could be done about these fears, or even what might be inferred from them until more substantial information could come to light.
Nevertheless, Krystle experienced each lesson in school with the same gripping fear that could only be experienced by one in her position. I say that with the utmost of sobriety, knowing that the way Krystle experienced each step of the way was more personal and gripping than even my own.
It was easy for me to be able to say, “I have not been guaranteed tomorrow, but I have been guaranteed eternity.” Such a profound statement by one whose tomorrow could be in jeopardy, cut to the heart of one who had committed herself to me until that very death would take me from her. Krystle’s fear was not for the day that I might be gone, but for the days to follow.
Krystle might disagree with me but I believe that she has displayed herself throughout this ordeal with pose and integrity.
10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
Thank you Krystle for being the woman you are, and for teaching me each day how lucky I am to have and to hold, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, ’till death do us part!
Specialists, for whatever reason, are notorious for being fully booked and hard to see. That being said, you can understand why I didn’t see a specialist until March. It was ok though; we had a revival at my church at the end of January, a full February, and an equally full March. The meeting with the ENT took place right before Krystle and I went to California for spring break, and was both exciting and ominous. I thought for sure that we might find some answers after meeting with the doctor, but when he expressed an interest in trying antibiotics to clear the “infection” that was the obvious root of my lymph problem, we promptly alerted him that such actions were already taken to no avail. After the briefest, but altogether terrifying blank stare, the doctor indicated that the node could dissolve on its own.
My wife, who is at this point about to burn the building down, indicated to the doctor that the proper course of action would be to get a CT scan or even a needle biopsy of the malfunctioning lymph node. The doctor agreed that such action could be taken and the meetings were scheduled. The scan was completed within the week.
When we returned to the doctor a few weeks later there was some interesting news. The lymph node scan was a little out of position (apparently because I am taller than most people who are scanned and the scanned section included less of my jaw and more of my throat than expected) and revealed a tumor on my thyroid…
…not sure how to take this information we waited expectantly for some type of reassurance from the doctor…none followed. Not sure how the lymph node and thyroid could be inflamed at the same time, our doctor asked for a consult with his partner. Neither could explain the oddly occurring growths.
The only thing that could be done to further the diagnostic understanding of my condition was an ultrasound-guided needle biopsy. It was scheduled.
In October of last year, I was singing in a choir rehearsal for our Christmas Cantata at church and noticed an enlarged lymph node on my throat. I had been feeling a little run down so I simply chalked it up to an oncoming cold or upper respiratory infection and gave it little concern. After about a month of having this lymph node enlarged I discussed it (informally) with a friend of mine who happens to be a doctor and he indicated that this was fairly normal to the “cold and flu season” and that it would pass eventually. Another month went by without any change, and I decided to make an appointment with my family doctor to have it checked out.
Now that it had been a few months, I was a little worried about the node but had to wait another couple of weeks to see a doctor. December was an interesting month due to the fact that I was in school, having the lump on my throat checked out; Krystle was finishing another semester of nursing school, as well as having surgery on her sinuses to correct an issue that she had. My attention on the node lessoned to make room for these concerns.
I met with my doctor and he assured me that it was nothing to worry about and that a simple round of antibiotics could clear this matter up. I was prescribed an antibiotic for the next ten days and took them faithfully. After noticing no change whatsoever, I asked for another appointment with my doctor. I waited until the Christmas break was settling down and saw my doctor about the middle of January. I was prescribed another antibiotic to help alleviate any infection that may be causing the inflammation, and we hoped for the best.
Though I felt great after each trip to the doctor, and subsequent antibiotic prescription, the node never changed size. My doctor and I began to think that seeing a specialist for this issue.
For the past couple of weeks I have been recovering from a surgery and have been out of Internet reception (didn’t know that happened much in 2011 but it does). My surgery was to remove a tumor on my thyroid as well as to remove a problematic lymph node. Though I hadn’t quite noticed many ill effects from the growths, my doctor knew that it was necessary to tackle this problem immediately.
I have had many people express concern about the fact that I haven’t said anything about this process in my journal, even though it has consumed Krystle and my waking moments over the past few months, and they are right. I hesitated at the beginning to say anything here because I didn’t want to publicize my over-anxious concern before we knew anything definitive. By the time we knew that my medical issues were as serious as they were, it seemed to be a little late…
Now that it is “all over,” I am going to take the next few days to let you know what went down.