We met with the surgeon on Wednesday, December 5. Sure enough, he was a bit off-putting at first — interrupting, not seeming to listen much — but by the time the consult was done, Sweetie and I decided he was a really interesting (and forceful!) character, and a trustworthy doctor. He was generously forthcoming with information, and cautiously optimistic about the outcome on the enlarged lymph node. (Also, unexpectedly and gently sympathetic about my tubal pregnancies in the 1980s — I’ve never experienced that with any other physician.) Biopsy surgery was set for the following Monday. Pre-surgical testing took up most of that Friday. On Monday morning I had a slightly sore throat, and we overslept a bit, but it was on with the show .
Wilson is not my favorite of the local/regional hospitals, but that’s where the surgeon practices. Pre-surgery, I felt well cared for by the nurses and the anestheseologist. Sweetie stayed by me as long as he was allowed, and I was so glad to have him there. The procedure was pretty grisly — he made a 2″ cut in my neck, center-front, just over the collar bones, and inserted camera and sampler behind my sternum, down to the lymph node, took samples, then pulled everything out, and glued and bandaged my neck back together. Luckily it was under general anesthesia. They sent me home the same afternoon. The bruising and glue at the wound are pretty ugly (I took the bandage off on Thursday, as instructed), but I had pain for only a couple of days. I also came down with a bad cold on Tuesday.
BUT — there was no cancer in the lymph node!
Had there been cancer, surgery wouldn’t be an option. That means my oncologist and I have to come to a decision about whether I should have lung surgery (a really major undertaking) or continue some form of chemotherapy with radiation. The surgeon seems to favor surgery (no surprise, right?) but wants a cardiac work-up first, since I’m overweight and have a long family history of serious heart problems. He referred me to a cardiologist in his practice, who we’ve already seen… and who I don’t care for at all. But on with the testing — if it turns out that I do need a cardiologist in the future, it won’t be this guy.
I see my oncologist on Christmas Eve.