May 24, 2010...Just 3 weeks after Nathan's first surgery he had to have another surgery to remove the rest of his thyroid due to the unfortunate fact that cancer was found.
I'm finally forcing myself to write about the surgery 2 1/2 months after it happened because I guess I just haven't wanted to relive it. For the most part, everything went according to plan but I just got ridiculously busy with the kids' activities. And because I had to pick up the slack with Nathan being out of commission, no surprise, the blog went on the back burner while our lives kept going non-stop.
Much to the dismay of our mothers, Nathan and I chose to go through this surgery on our own and not burden any family members with all that goes along with making a long distance trip. Plus, we were already very familiar with the doctor and knew what to expect with the surgery and recovery process. It was a difficult choice and quite honestly a hard pill for some to swallow but, we felt like the 10 hour journey just wasn't worth it for anyone.
The night before Nathan's surgery I posted this picture and a status update (which I rarely do) on Facebook. Everyone's comments that followed that night and throughout the surgery day meant so much to us so, I thought I'd put them on here to help document it all.
Nikki Crittenden McCallum- Nathan's incision has healed up nicely, but unfortunately it will be sliced open tomorrow for more surgery. He's having the other thyroid removed because cancer was found. He has thyroid cancer, and tomorrow things will change for him forever.
Angela Rasberry Roberts- Oh Nikki! I am so sorry and cannot imagine the emotions you are feeling right now. You are both in my thoughts and prayers. Keep us posted.
Nikki Crittenden McCallum- Thanks, Angela!
Linda Mol McCallum- Nikki-my mom has survived thyroid cancer. This was forty yrs ago. She is now 75. Keep your chin up sweetie! We will all be praying for him and you. Please keep us posted.
Nikki Crittenden McCallum- Thanks, Linda...I will pass that on to Nathan.
Jonathan Mccallum- nikki, tell nate my thoughts are with him..call me if you need anything..love ya...
Nikki Crittenden McCallum- Thanks, Jonathan...Will do!
Kristen Karlsen- I also have a close friend that survived it. We will pray for him. Hugs to u hon!!
Shelly Andrews Moore- Our thoughts and prayers are with you and Nate everything will be ok just trust in God.
Sharron Lucky- Sending lots of prayers and hugs your way.
Brittany Pippen Arlitt- praying for you guys!
Nikki Crittenden McCallum- Thanks to all of you for the kind words! The surgery recovery is difficult, but the hard part will be adjusting to medication that is required for the rest of his life.
Lyndsey Newton- My stomach is in my throat as I read your post. Please know that I am sincerely praying for Nathan and for you and your family. Is there anything you need or that I can do? I know that sounds stupid coming from miles away, but please let me know. You know I am a night owl if you ever need to talk. Love you girl--hang in there friend.
Nikki Crittenden McCallum- Thank you so much, Lyndsey! Just knowing that you care so much and are thinking of us is very helpful!
DAY OF 2ND THYROID SURGERY
Not only were we going through this surgery on our own but, we were also having to pay a babysitter to watch the kids for the first time. Imagine that at 6 and 8 yrs old. I asked the girl that Brooke rides horses with if she could help us out, and she was sweet as could be...Even when she mentioned $40-$50 for her fee. Say what?!?!?! The kids were so excited that she was watching them all day. Karley even picked them up from the hospital and took them with her to get her senior pictures done. She's such a doll even if she did cost me a pretty penny.
More thoughtful Facebook comments...
Brittany Pippen Arlitt- Phil. 4:6-7
"Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel"
God is in control, trust Him!! Praying for you as the rock of your family right now!!
Nikki Crittenden McCallum- Thank you so much, Brittany! Nathan was able to read it before he went back, and I know he really appreciated it!
Nikki Crittenden McCallum- We've been at the hospital since 9:30. Nathan's surgery was scheduled for 11:00 and now they say the doctor won't even be up here until 11:30. I guess that means everything will be running way behind. Great.
Lyndsey Newton- hang in there girl. I am thinking about y'all.
Julie Gilmore Harding- I'll be praying that everything goes well.
Nikki Crittenden McCallum- Thanks Lyndsey and Julie!
The nurse previously told me that Nathan's doctor would allow me to go back and sit with him while in pre-op even though the surgery center's policy disagreed, but the staff still wouldn't let me...I figured that would happen. I wasn't about to make a fuss about it especially when other families in the waiting room were having to follow the same rules. However, once the doctor called and said he was running behind at another hospital, they let me go back there. Yay!
Nathan said he was so relieved to see me when I walked in there. They had already given him some medicine to make him sleepy but, I was so glad that I could at least just sit there with him. Before he dozed off, he grabbed me and quietly whispered, "You're so awesome." Awww...Melt my heart! All I was doing was taking care of my family the best I could...Nothing special. He's definitely the awesome one with his ability to endure all that his body has been put through and make it look like it's not that big of a deal.
Nikki Crittenden McCallum- The doctor ended up getting here 50 minutes late. Now everything is at least an hour behind. What a little punk! I think the surgery is halfway done now though.
Bosco Womack- We are anxiously awaiting the results! You guys are in our prayers! -Garalee
Sonny Strumila- Keep me updated. Kim told me this morning.
Once Nathan was wheeled away and I was shuffled back to the waiting room, everything seemed to fly by faster than expected. I think the fact that I was constantly answering phone calls, texting, emailing, and facebooking on mine AND Nathan's phone had a great deal to do with it. Gotta give props to our iPhones for that!
I couldn't believe how quickly they came and got me to talk with the doctor either. I remember him telling me that the incision "zipped" open a little farther than he wanted. Say what?! I was a little shocked for two reasons...1 because he just said zipped in reference to my husband's throat, and 2 because I had jokingly started calling Nathan zippy after the first surgery when he said his scar looked like a zipper. Sometimes you just have to find the humor in tough situations.
Even more thoughtful Facebook comments...Nikki Crittenden McCallum- The surgery is done, I've talked with the doctor, and I'm sitting with him now. The dr said his recovery is going to be much worse than the last time since he's had two major surgeries so close together...Now the really hard part starts. So much patience and strength from all of us will be needed.
Glenda Page- Remember Nathan in prayer!
Jeff Costello- uncle nate is tough he will make it!!!
Lyndsey Newton- Definitely praying for strength, patience and understanding....hang in there.
Anthony Botos- We're praying for you! Hang in there
Brian Wilson- We are keeping your family in our prayers. Keep me up to date on how he is
Shannon Price Wayland- Prayers coming your way...hang in there!
Gena Crittenden- Thinking about you and praying for you...
Roberta Sheffield- Will pray for all of you!
Summer Grace Galindo- thinking of all of you and praying for your family! thanks for the updates!!
Meghan 'Pettit' Crouch- we've been thinking about you all--Nathan is in our prayers!
Noel Lucky Brucker- Many love and prayers from all of us...Rest in the strength of the Great Healer. Give him a big hug from us!
DeJuana Crittenden- So much love coming your way from the home front. Praying that God will wrap you all in his comforting arms.
Nikki Crittenden McCallum- Thank you so much to everyone for thinking of our family during Nathan's surgery. It means so very much to us to know how much you all care...It really does!!!
Sharron Lucky- We are all praying for all of you!
Nikki Crittenden McCallum- Thanks, Aunt Sharron!
Shannon Price Wayland- Looks good....funny I didn't get stitches or have a drain tube. I was just glued shut.... I was scared to death that I was going to leak anything every time I took a drink (:
Nikki Crittenden McCallum- What?!?!?! No stitches??? I'm sure glue makes for a much better scar. We must not have the major medical advancements or know how that your doctor did. It's straight up country here.
DeJuana Crittenden- Poor baby! So sorry Nate. It really looks a lot better than I thought it would. For some reason, I thought it was going to be a vertical incision. It will get better eventually, and the scar will turn white. Prayers for good news next week. Love you so much.
Nikki Crittenden McCallum- Thanks, Mom. Even though he's not feeling much better, it does at least look a little better each day.
Meghan 'Pettit' Crouch- poor nathan! hope this one heals quickly for him!
Noel Lucky Brucker You'll look back at that scar in 50 years with a smile and remember a fine battle scar - Many prayers and wishes for a speedy recovery!
Austen Ford- Thinkin' about ya'll a lot bro!
Sharron Lucky- I'm just a grateful a doctor made that scar and not someone trying to steal your wallet. Many prayers sent your way...
DeJuana Crittenden- And now he has the rest of the smiley face after the second surgery. Sorry, Nate. Just glad all the cutting is over, and the offensive thing is out. Praying you'll get stronger every day. Love you!
Nathan McCallum- Thanks everyone. Each day it's getting better.
FIRST DAY POST-OP
As you can imagine, Nathan was in tremendous pain when he woke up the day after the surgery. I felt so bad for him. He just wanted to sleep and not move an inch but, he had to get the drainage tube removed. That was actually extremely painful because of how it was wrapped and twisted around in his neck.
More pain meds, please!The second day after surgery Nathan got a special delivery all the way from St. Johns, Michigan. It was from the guy that he worked with for a while in Texas and actually requested to transfer to Michigan in place of Nathan a few years ago. What a nice guy!
This picture was taken just 4 days after surgery. Amazing how quickly it started looking better.
We knew that Nathan still had a possibility of taking the radiation pill to kill off any remaining cancer cells but, at least he won't need any more thyroid surgeries...Cause he doesn't have any thyroid left to work on. Thyroid medication started the very next morning after surgery, and he will need take a pill every morning for the rest of his life. A few adjustments to the dosage will be made here and there according to his test results and how his body is reacting to the medicine but, hopefully, it will be fairly painless process....Poor guy has been through enough already.