Huntsman Cancer Institute

Bryan’s surgery went well. It’s been very busy since then so I am finally writing about it a month-and-a-half later, but I posted the date as the day of his surgery so I would have it written down. When the doctor came out to tell me how he was doing after surgery, I was really worried he may have cut Bryan’s vocal cord. That is one of the risks of surgery on the neck. It’s a small cord and they had to dig around and take out several lymph nodes. The doctor said it went well and that he kind of brushed up against the vocal cord, but that Bryan “sounded” like he still had his voice. Before getting anesthesia, one of the nurses told him to think of a pleasant thought before going Bryan was thinking about Jerusalem. (He went there last year and it really made a huge impact on him). So when they rolled him back to his room from surgery I was trying not to laugh when he was whispering, “Jerusalem” and practicing Hebrew words. The meds always make him act funny. I had to explain to the nurses that he was learning Hebrew and so it’s been on his mind a lot. Of the approximate 15 lymph nodes they removed from his neck, 5 of them were positive for metastatic papillary thyroid cancer. The good news is that they were negative for extracapsular spread, meaning the cancer was confined inside the lymph node. The annoying part is that they can’t really be sure if they got it all. He will just have to continue doing his check-ups and blood work to see the levels of his thyroglobulin. They don’t recommend another dose of radioactive iodine at this point because he already had it back in 2005, and since the cancer was still there, those cells didn’t respond to it the first time. The best thing to do for now is to keep a close watch on it. He was at Huntsman for three nights and they took good care of him. His room was like a suite; it was huge. He had a great view of the mountains and nice big windows. One more thing about the surgery; when they stitched him up they actually pulled out the surrounding skin to stitch together, so that when it heals it heals flush with the skin instead of having it droop in. So it looked pretty gross for an entire week until he got the stitches out, and then it was not so bad after that. Here’s some pics....


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