Yesterday I got a call from Dr. Avizonis, the radiologist I went to see up in Salt Lake for a second opinion. She had had a conference with a bunch of other doctors that morning (Wednesday morning) where they reviewed my situation to see what the best course of action to take would be. I knew that whatever she told me to do, I would need to do. Honestly, I was expecting to hear that I needed radiation. Even if my MRI was clean - even if it showed no signs of cancer, there was still that 10% of my tumor that had been removed that was a high grade cancer, so I knew that just as a precaution I would still need radiation. I was scared to get radiation, but I was even more scared of what would happen if the cancer came back and spread, so I was trying to deal with the idea of living with the side effects of radiation for the rest of my life. It was a scary thought, but I knew it wouldn't do any good worrying about it until I had heard from Dr. Avizonis. Needless to say, it was an important phone call.
She's such a great doctor. Everything she could have done to help me she did. She talked to my ENT doctor who did my surgery, she got all my records, including my new MRI films, she got the pathology reports and slides, and she spend time with the other doctors at the conference thoroughly reviewing my case to decide what to do. She asked me if my nose had been itching that morning because they were talking about me :-).
So, on to the news - and the miracle :-). She reviewed my pathology slides with other pathologists and they discovered that the pathologist who had first looked at my tumor and had graded it as 90% low and 10% high was most likely using an older method of grading. All of the pathologist at the conference agreed that with the updated information out there, my cancer was actually ALL low grade. I couldn't believe what she was telling me! Because of that, it changed everything. I don't need radiation. There's less than a ten percent chance of my cancer coming back, which is even better odds than doing radiation. If by chance my cancer does come back it would be localized and would not spread. So, as long as I get MRI's every six months or so for the next several years, they'll be able to monitor it closely and make sure I'm ok. Plus, if that weren't enough amazing news, Dr. Avizonis told me what my ENT doctor, Dr. Riddle, had told her about my surgery. Dr. Riddle had said that if he would have known that my tumor was cancerous when he did the surgery (Dr. Riddle and I had no worries beforehand that it would be cancerous), he would have removed my facial nerve, or at least part of it, and grafted in another nerve in hopes that it would regenerate. So, I might not have full use of the left side of my face if he would have known beforehand that my tumor was cancerous. I'm so glad he didn't know!!! Now, if my cancer does come back he'll most likely have to do just that, but at least I have a chance to beat this before taking that kind of (in my opinion) drastic action. My MRI was totally clean, though, so that's very promising. So, at least for now, I can smile and blink my eyes and not have to worry about having half a face that doesn't work. From the odds that Dr. Avizonis told me, I'm not worried about my cancer coming back. One of the last things Dr. Avizonis told me was to focus now on being with my kids and taking care of my family. I swear if she would have told me all this in person I would have kissed her!
I got off the phone and just cried. I thanked my Heavenly Father for this miraculous news and for the chance to move on with my life and not have to worry about cancer or radiation or not being here to spend time with my family. I can't even explain fully how I feel right now. I am so overwhelmed with gratitude. I think what overwhelms me the most is knowing that this miracle came about not because of me or what I did, but because of all of you. It is because all of you prayed and fasted and put my name in the Temple and showed your support. I know it is because of the love of you, my friends and family, that I am going to be ok. Again, I cannot fully explain how grateful I feel. It makes me tear up just thinking about it. All I can say is thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your love and concern and prayers in my behalf. I love you all so much. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for this experience, and this outcome. I know that it has made me a better person.
Well, I hope this is the last you'll be hearing about all of this. But, even if it's not, I am just so grateful for this experience. I know that everything happens for a reason. I've seen the Lords hand in every tiny step and decision and I thank all of you for being a part of that. Again, I love you all!!! I hope you all have as good of a day and week as I'm having right now :-).