Kara’s cancer scare

It’s taken me a while to write this. We’re still recovering from the shock of it all. It still seems like a dream and definitely everything was a whirlwind.

Let me start at the beginning. Kara has always had this odd bump on her left forearm. It’s been there for at least as long as we’ve been married. We noticed it getting bigger in the summer of 2007 and getting more painful. She went to the doctor and was told that it probably was just a calcium deposit and take some tylenol. It wasn’t until November that she went to a specialist to find out why she was in so much pain.

The specialist became concerned after seeing the X-Ray and MRI results. To him, it showed all signs of a tumor. He sent the results to Salt Lake City and we waited about 3 weeks before we heard anything back. One we did hear from them, they immediately wanted us in Salt Lake for surgery.

After a minor fiasco getting care arranged for our six kids, we left on January 11, 2008. Due to the pain I’m in, we decided to leave early even though her appointment wasn’t until the 15th. The weather driving there was great. Her dad was nice enough to drive down with us to help Kara and I out.

The doctors confirmed with us that the tumor was a puzzle to them. While it had signs pointing to cancer, there were signs that it wasn’t as well. Regardless, it was to be removed the following day.

The 16th came and Kara went into surgery. While we were told the surgery would last 3 hours, the doctor came out after about 2 hours and said that she was out of surgery. The tumor was hard as marble and would take a few days to soften so tests could be ran. After what seemed an eternity to wait to see her, I finally got up to check with the front desk. She had already been taken to the recovery room and was waiting for us. I wasn’t pleased about that. C’mon, how hard would it have been to notify me?! I was told that would happen! Anyways, Bill and I went in to see her and she was a mess. The morphine drip that she was on caused her to itch like crazy. She was literally gouging herself because she itched so bad (she currently still has the scratch marks healing as of today!). They finally gave her something for that.

What threw me over the edge that day was when I was getting ready to leave for the night and there was a shift change. She had just gone to the bathroom when it happened. The replacement nurse was supposed to come right in to help her out. After waiting half an hour, I had to help her to her bed then plug her stuff back in. Can you imagine that? Me, with my cane, helping her roll her stand around, helping her get dressed again, placed back in bed and hooking stuff up!!!! I was hopping mad! I went to the nursing desk after getting her settled in and told the duty nurse what had happened. She was mad as well. She yelled at the nurse to get over there now. Believe it or not, the guy was sitting down reading a magazine! She was also supposed to notify the supervisor. I asked if she was going to be cared for that night and was assured she was. I guess she was because Kara told me the next day that the guy was in her room every half hour checking on her!

She was finally released on the 18th. It took a little longer because of pain and other issues she was having. Although they took the bone out, she was in more pain than she should have been because of the extent of damage done by the tumor. It appears that the tumor was growing around her ulna nerve and was beginning to cut into it! If she would have waited any longer, the nerve could have been severed.

We left on the 20th to head back to Missoula because we heard of a massive blizzard that was heading to Salt Lake. Forecasts were for over a foot of snow. Obviously when they get a warning like that, people there take it seriously because everybody was hiding indoors. We made it to Idaho Falls that night and already it was starting to snow heavily. I checked the road conditions and our road had been closed due to the pass being snowed and iced over. It wasn’t until the 22nd before we were able to leave Idaho Falls. The low there was -12 with a -32 wind chill. It was stinking cold!!!!

After waiting a week to hear back, Kara finally called and we received word that it wasn’t cancer! Yahoooo!!!!!! It turned out that it was a rare bone disease that affects only .9% of the population. So far there have been only 300 confirmed cases with 1 fatality. Usually once surgery is performed to remove the growth, it doesn’t come back. The scare was over.

Kara is still recovering. She still doesn’t have feeling where the ulna nerve runs along the bottom of her arm to her two fingers (pinkie and ring finger). She’s finally able to move her pinkie although she doesn’t have alot of strength to move it. She started physical therapy to get some range of motion back. Unfortunately, the doctor told her that she might never get feeling in that part of her arm. On the flip side, it could be way worse. We could have gone through the cancer nightmare.

We would like to thanks those families that helped us out in our time of need. While others couldn’t physically help, we thank them for their thoughts and prayers. Our ward held a special fast for us on the surgery day and we know in our hearts that it helped immensely. We thank our Heavenly Father for His love and presence in our lives. We couldn’t have done it without either.

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