I’m cured!

Yesterday I spent four hours on the operating table with my throat cut wide open and today I’m already back home. It was almost drive through surgery! [Note: I added the above photo more than a week after surgery. It doesn’t heal *that* fast.]

The surgeon said it was a difficult operation, but his hard work translated into an easy time for me. I slept through the whole thing and recovered quickly afterwards.

He found and removed two tumors (one thyroid and one parathyroid) and both appeared to be benign (to be confirmed by further lab tests). My lymph nodes, which appeared enlarged on ultrasound, turned out to be normal. One of my remaining parathyroid glands, which also appeared enlarged on ultrasound, also turned out to be normal. My blood calcium level is now normal, which was the symptom which started this whole thing.

So it appears everything went perfectly and I’m probably completely cured now. It’s the best possible result I could have hoped for.

I’m immensely impressed by the skill and dedication of the doctors who took care of me. Both my internist and my surgeon are brilliant, hard working, super nice guys. I think they’re the best in the world at what they do. And yet, as good as they are, they know medicine is not an exact science. They struggle hard to make the right decisions and sweat over it until the outcome is known. So I would also add “courageous” to my list of praise for them. They dearly want everything to turn out well but the task they do is sometimes so difficult that they know they can’t always prevail.

In my case, there were two additional parathyroid glands which couldn’t be seen on ultrasound and which couldn’t be found during surgery either. The surgeon spent a lot of time looking for them but finally had to give up. I think by the time he abandoned the search he was becoming concerned about the risk of doing me harm by poking around so much and for so long. He looked relieved when he visited me after surgery and saw me being bright and happy. He told me he’d sleep better that night because he didn’t have to worry about me.

I think that must be a hard part of his job, the concern that despite all his skill and best efforts he won’t always be able to get the results he wants. Some days he’ll have to go home knowing he either didn’t manage to cure someone or possibly even made them worse by trying. But not today. Today I am another one of his many success stories.

[Update: The final pathology report came back and confirmed both tumors were benign. I’m cured!]

5 Responses to “I’m cured!”

  1. Steve Frohbieter
    January 13th, 2004 | 9:00 pm

    Good to hear that everything went well. Crazy what little parts not functioning up to snuff can do to the big machine, isn’t it? Best wished for a speedy recovery.


  2. Mary27606
    January 14th, 2004 | 12:14 pm

    Thank goodness!
    I’ve been missing you 🙂

  3. Caden
    January 14th, 2004 | 11:17 pm

    Whew!!!! Let’s hear it for the great doctors and the brave patient too. HOORAY!!

  4. cynthia
    January 15th, 2004 | 8:11 am

    hi dan, my dad is about to go through this same procedure, i hope all goes as well as yours did! it was good to read your account, and i forwarded it along to him. thanks for sharing and be well.

  5. Nada
    January 24th, 2004 | 5:42 pm

    hi dan,I’m very happy for u, nice scar u’ve got,..but soon it will heal completely and u will have nothing to remind u of the great time u spent during surgery….u really make it sound so enjoyable…I believe if ur doctor stood for office and u worked on his election campain..he is sure to win, I’m happy u don’t work for Bush…always wishing u the very best..nada.