[UPDATE, 5/28/08: Home now and doing well—thanks for prayers!]
I would be grateful for your prayers as I prepare to enter the hospital for the completion of my thyroidectomy this Tuesday. The operation is at 7:30 a.m. and I expect to be in the hospital until Wednesday afternoon. After that, I will have stitches in my throat until they are removed the following Tuesday morning.
I wrote previously about my first surgery last January 29, when a tumor was removed from my thyroid that proved to be Stage 1 cancer. Thank God it was caught before it could spread. Tuesday's operation is to remove the rest of my thyroid so that the odds of my having a recurrence of this type of cancer will be reduced to zero. No thyroid will also mean no Hashimoto's disease, a condition that was likewise diagnosed with the removal of the tumor. I can get along fine without the gland by taking thyroid hormone pills, which I have been taking for the past 15 years anyway due to a hypothyroidism.
Prayers are especially needed right now because I have been feeling blue in anticipation of the surgery and the treatment with radioactive-iodine pills that I will need six weeks after the procedure. The radioactive-iodine treatment will involve another short hospital stay plus isolation for a few days at home. Its purpose is to knock out any thyroid tissue that may be remaining in my body. The treatment is not supposed to be painful in and of itself, but the hospitalization and isolation sounds to me like it will be uncomfortable.
I do feel extremely blessed in that my condition is fully curable with treatment, and I know I am getting the best treatment available. The hard part is just having to go through what it is necessary I go through in order to be healed. I can take comfort in reading my previous entries and seeing how happy I was after my first surgery, but the thought of having to return to the hospital six weeks after this coming operation is daunting. I just want this whole experience to be over, and in the meantime I need God's grace to offer it up and get through it.
One beautiful thing about this experience, as with my previous surgery, is that some of my friends nearby are asking what they can do to help. I have asked a couple of them individually to meet me for lunch or dinner over the weekend, so that I will have something to look forward to while recovering at home this week. I have also told them and others who have offered aid that I will take them up on their offer in the middle of July, when I am home after taking the radioactive iodine. During that time of isolation, they can brighten my days by leaving a hot meal outside my door.
Many thanks to those of you who are praying for me. I will pray for you too. While I am recovering, I hope to catch up on fulfilling the requests I received upon offering free copies of my book to priests, religious, and seminarians—something on which I fell behind during my touring (though I have managed to fulfill some 140-odd requests so far).
Photo by Kristina J. Grabosky, taken in the golden evening sun in Alexandria, Virginia, May 4, 2008.