There’s been rather a lot going on recently, and I just noticed that I didn’t post an update on the results of the biopsy they did after my mouth operation.
It turns out that the lump they took out from the floor of my mouth contained the primary site, or most of it, for the cancer I had back in 2001. I have a cancer called Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC), a slow-growing salivary-gland cancer with a tendency to spread along nerves.
Obviously, removing the primary is a step forward. However, as they didn’t get it all, I need to have a further operation to remove the rest. This will probably create a larger hole than can just be sewn together, so they intend to fill it with a lump taken out of my upper leg. (In the past, it has been remarked that I’m rather prone to foot-in-mouth disease; I didn’t expect I’d prove everyone right in quite such a literal way…) This operation is scheduled for April 13th. The primary risk is probably nerve damage – I’ve already lost feeling in part of my tongue as a result of the initial procedure.
I also have between one and four, depending on how pessimistic you are, metastatic nodes in my lungs. These can only be removed when they are big enough for the surgeon to feel, which should be in about 12 months.
Survival rates for ACC are, according to one website, 89% at five years but 40% at fifteen years. In that context, I stand behind Paul’s words in Philippians 1:
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Paul goes on to say how torn he is between continuing to serve Christ on earth, and departing to be with him. I already understand somewhat how he felt and, as this goes on, I’m sure I will do so more and more.
Those (few…) of you who are Christians, please pray for me the same thing – that Christ would be exalted in my body and my actions.