Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Starting My Journey

Tonight is the last night for me to be who I was before. 
Before surgery.  
The me who has been healthy as a goat for so many years.
 I've taken it for granted. 
I'm having a very hard time wrapping my head around the word cancer.  That this is ME we're talking about not somebody else, somebody else's life.  
I'm  trying very hard not to think about the what ifs.  I'm dealing with the what is.
And I want to continue to do so, one step at a time.  
I'm also not terribly comfortable with writing about myself in this way, but I wanted to put up one more post and then let my very obliging sister-in-law guest-post on updates. I'm finding it exhausting to tell the same things over again to all the lovely people who want to know, and even then, not everybody gets the same thing. After all, it was Jim and I listening to the surgeons this morning. 

We came to Omaha this morning to have the consultation with the two surgeons who will be doing the surgery tomorrow around noon.  The nasal surgeon is kind, efficient, patient, and answered all our questions before we asked them. We wouldn't have needed to bring our list.  
For the nuts and bolts of what is happening here, I have been diagnosed with one of two types of malignant nasal tumor.  One is a tumor of the olfactory nerve. The other not so easily explained.  The tumor in the lower sinuses will be removed by going up through the nose.  The upper sinuses will be accessed with an ear to ear incision over the top of the head.
(They don't shave heads anymore.)  
The main thing in any cancer surgery is to get all the cancer plus a certain amount of unharmed tissue to ensure a complete removal.  There is a limited amount of tissue to get in such a confined area, so the dura between sinus and brain will be removed, and be replaced with some of my own from another place.  The bone that separated and seals the brain area and the sinus cavity has been destroyed by the tumor and will be replaced with mesh.  The tumor is also right up against one eye, and has destroyed some of the bone protecting the right eye in the area of the bridge of my nose, and if the hole in the bone is big enough it will also be strengthened with mesh. The main thing is to take enough out of me to get all the bad stuff and then reconstruct what needs to be done.
 One thing I didn't know, is that the sinus cavity is not several open holes as I always imagined.  There are little pockets in those sinus cavities  After this, however, I will have one big open area, which while it won't affect my quality of life, will affect how I take care of it. 
Except I won't be able to smell anymore.  That is over. I don't think I'll get fat now, eating isn't nearly as much fun.

So, this is really a pretty big deal, more than I ever imagined.  I will have a six hour surgery, followed by 24 hours in ICU (this is normal), and then a hospital stay of 5-7 days.  Then I will go home to recover.  After an expected six weeks of surgical recovery time, I will have six weeks of radiation.  Just to make sure, you know.
Of course, what knowledge we have now, is subject to anything new that might be found during the surgery.  The nasal surgeon takes care of the lower, the neurosurgeon the upper, at the same time.  
There is some good news.  The tumor does not appear to have penetrated the brain or the eyes themselves.  There is every expectation of a cure.  
Despite all the risks involved in major surgery, and some fear as well, I will be glad to get this out of my head and start making progress to a new me.    

After surgery the tumor is called a neuroendocrine tumor.
Surgery was 9 1/2 hours long.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are in good hands. We will be thinking of you. We appreciate your faith and positive outlook..grateful for a God that offers strength.Rod and Jenelle

Dan & Cyndie said...

My dear friend...I so very much appreciate your trusting, brave spirit in going into this. You are truly an inspiration to me.
I have been thinking of you and your family all day and waiting to hear what the Dr.'s were going to have to say.
We'd be there if we could, physically, but we can't; so we will be there in our hearts...loving you and your family.
in love and friendship, cyndie

Brenda said...

I will be thinking of you tomorrow . . . .

Anonymous said...

Shelley I am proud to be connected with you. And Jim. And your kids. And thankful that you are able to put into words some of your feelings. I hope you feel a boatload of love surrounding you all, because there is. And the greatest plus in the picture, come what may, is that you have a connection with Heaven, and that carries you where your determination and all our care cannot.
Love, Dodie

Anonymous said...

Jim, Shelley and family...just a note to let you know that we will all be pulling for you here in Iowa! Will be thinking of you all.
Dan, Kim, Kendra and Nicole

Anonymous said...

Jim, Shelley and family...just a note to let you know that we will all be pulling for you here in Iowa! Will be thinking of you all.
Dan, Kim, Kendra and Nicole

Darcie said...

So, sorry I haven't been on here more and sooner! THinking of you during this time, and hope all goes as planned, and like you said, "On the road to a new you."

Hugs from your blogging friend!!!

Julie and Sheila said...

We will surely be thinking of you and following how it all goes. Glad LeRoy & Owen can be there though. WY seems very far from Omaha!
We love you

Renee said...

Dearest Shelly~kins....Words don't express the love in my heart nor the admiration in my heart for your bravery and faith and your straight forward, sharing of this journey you find yourself on. Love does take wing your way, though, and thank you for this means of updating us. Much thanks to your guest-blogger as well. xo xo

Juli said...

Dear Shelley,
I never seem to have the words I want...when I'm on the phone or when I'm writing, but after all our years of friendship surely we understand each others hearts, and you know mine will be going with you tomorrow!

Elaine T. said...

So sorry for this experience you have to go thru. I admire your attitude..keep positive, it will help your recovery. Cancer is not what we would ever choose, and it Is a Family disease..affecting each one in a different way. But we know you're in God's hands, he sees the whole picture. Many prayers have already gone up on your behalf and we wish you the Best outcome after you get thru tomorrow. Love you.

Gina said...

Dear Shelley, Jim and all, The miles seem endless!! Wish we could be closer, but you will be in our thoughts tomorrow!!! Thanks for sharing your journey. Love you muchly!!! Gina and crew

Anonymous said...

Our thoughts with you..our care..rod and jenelle and boys

Unknown said...

Oh! My!! Word!!! Shelley! AND Jim! Sending POSITIVE thoughts to you and yours tomorrow and in the days that lie ahead!! Hang in there! Laurel and Loren

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Kleeb,
You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope for a speedy recovery and for you to come out of all of this "c-word" free. My parents bible study held a group prayer for you tonight. I know that the lord will give you strength to get though this. "God wont ever give you anything he doesn't think you can handle" <3
Stay strong!
-Alex Van Pool

Anonymous said...

Aw my dear Shelley..... My heart is sad thinking of what you're facing but love and admire your attitude and straight forwardness. You are an amazing person and someone I consider one of my dearest friends!! You have a world of people pulling for you and your wonderful little family!! Love and hugs to you all!! Janet

The Chairman's Wife said...

Thank you for bravely telling us what is happening. Thinking of you all keenly. Hope this can eventually just be a blip on the journey of life. Hugs from Wisconsin.

The J's said...

Dear friend--Thinking of you today especially! Thanks for your post, thanks to Dorothy also. Looking forward to the days when this is all safely behind you, but in the meantime we're all pulling for you! Love, MJ

gkey said...

My dear ShelleyKins,
Please know there are so many loving hugging praying hearts with you as you face this experience.
love to all of you,
gkey & family

Dalayna said...

If you know it or not, you've always held a special place in my heart. Now you'll hold a special place in my prayers.
Many thoughts and hugs going out to you and your family.

amy b. said...

Several have already mentioned this word and it is the one that comes to me as I read your post... brave. I don't know you but you've left a comment on my blog one time and I've enjoyed yours from time to time, and you are a friend of friends. We all would question how we would cope with a diagnosis like yours... you are in it... and you are brave. Thinking of you today... praying for the very best for you and for your family.

Anita said...

Lots of thoughts and care going your way, Shelley... and best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery! xo

Lynisha said...

You & yours are in our thoughts & prayers in a very special way today and in the days to come. <3

Lynisha said...

You & yours are in our thoughts & prayers in a very special way today and in the days to come. <3

Grace said...

So sorry to just hear all this! Have been thinking of you all day since. Hoping for the best & *hugs* to you all.
Everett & Grace Kracht

gkey said...

Dearest Aunt Shelley,
My heart is hanging out in the wings of your hospital-gowned, surgeon-dominated, medical-languaged little world today... even as I work on other projects my heart is there with you, sending all the hope, countless prayers, and love I can muster!

Here is a post I wrote for you, my friend and honorary "auntie": http://www.theprairiehen.blogspot.com/2012/05/spirit-of-adoption.html

Much love,
Raimie Lu

Lanae said...

Shelley, You have been on my heart and mind today. I hope all goes well, today and in the days ahead. I admire your spirit, too.

Love, Lanae

Anonymous said...

Keeping you in our thoughts and hearts today and in future days. Brent and Janet Townsend and family

Anonymous said...

Watching the clock,thinking of you, praying. Sending you hugs.
Someday soon we will sit and knit together again. For now, know how
much we care. Luanne

Anonymous said...

I have been praying for you and am doing so this very minute. May you KNOW and FEEL the Lord's nearness and love right now, and in the days ahead. You are so precious to Him - and to us. Brandie

Oleva said...

Dear Shelley, Jim, and children
We are thinking of you all in this experience. Times like this brings "unspeakable" feelings for all of you along with "anxious fears"!! Glad for modern medicine and the hope for the cure. Will continue to think of you all in the "process" that it takes to get to better days.
Glad for the Menomonie days------hope we get to be "salad buddies" again :-)
Loving care to all.
Carl and Oleva Oman

Holly said...

Shelley, Jim and kids,

Thinking of each of you today as you continue this journey that has been given to you. Thankful for your faith, spirit and friendship. I never can seem to find the right words, but just know you are in my heart and thoughts a thousand times a day! Love, the Thyne's

parose said...

Shelley ~ Posts from Maxine and Cyndie on FB regarding your situation caused me to go to your blog. I have been very slow to keep up with my blogging or reading others, so I am just now trying to catch up. Andy and I are so sorry to read of your tumor and surgery. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers as well as your dear husband and all your family. We will be anxiously waiting to hear the outcome from your sister-in-law. Be strong and very courageous. You certainly are not low on courage! We look forward to posts from the new" you. Sending hugs from Houston ~ Your friends, Patty and Andy Rosehill

Anonymous said...

Dear Jim, Shelley and family,
All of you have been in our thoughts and prayers so much and will continue to be in the days ahead.
Hugs from Arizona,
Varrel and Sandi Herndon

Anonymous said...

Dear Jim, Shelley and family,
All of you have been in our thoughts and prayers so much and will continue to be in the days ahead.
Hugs from Arizona,
Varrel and Sandi Herndon