Monday, February 2, 2009

Getting Up To Speed

Where to start?

I'll cut to the chase and tell you I have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It is a highly praised cancer. Among it's wonderful attributes are the following:
  • If you've got to get cancer, this is the one to get!
  • The chances are extremely high for full recovery.
  • There's no physical side effects to the treatment. E.g., no (additional) hair loss, etc.
Actually, I guess the list stops there. And - I know - according the theory of relativity I do have it good. But it's still cancer and it's a bit hard to see just the positives when you are right in the middle of it. It is extremely hard for the girls to see that anything is wrong. Shelly is staying strong and positive, which helps a lot.

Here is the time line of events leading up to this point. I always wanted to create a blog for the family, but really, did it have to come to this? To be sure, this blog will continue after this little ordeal is behind us. I love reading other people's blogs, so now I will return the favor.

I was extremely tired after running the mini marathon in 2008. Actually the tiredness started right after construction on the house ended and training began. But, I pushed through the training and ran/walked it in the decent time of 2:23 and some odd seconds. After the race I ran out of motivation to keep exercising. I then realized how tired I was. I went to the doctor and some blood work revealed that I had very low testosterone. Fine. More medicine and the problem is solved, right? Wrong. The meds worked to a certain degree but the medicine was not responding as expected, prompting Dr. Watt to send me to a specialist. The time now is around September/October. After several weeks, the specialist called to set an appointment for the beginning of December, I believe. A few days before the appointment the office called to say my appointment was postponed indefinitely. (I don't know the details but it turns out the specialist was dealing with his own serious situation.) With a last moments notice, I was scheduled to see a different specialist in the same office on 12/31/2008. Finally, I'm in.

During that visit which I thought would only take about an hour out of my day, I had so much blood drawn for tests that it altered my donation availability. For another test that day, I went to another location and had an ultrasound on my throat. I didn't know they could do that. Those results came back to the specialist and they called me to schedule a FNA biopsy for 1/23/2009. The FNA stands for Fine Needle Asperation, and let me tell you, there's nothing Fine about it. Okay, it's not that bad unless you're scared of needles. Luckily I'm not, but it did hurt for a couple days.

I must admit that I'm pretty naive. None of that that I just described clued me in to the possibility of them doing this for anything other that just ruling out a malignant tumor. The doctor who performed the FNA came back in to the room to describe the preliminary results. I recall hearing the word "suspicious" but, hey, that's just the preliminary results. And "suspicious" isn't a real medical term is it? Yep, it is. I had a feeling something wasn't right by her tone but I did the manly thing and put that box right back on the shelf and got down the get-on-with-my-day box. We had our friend Tammy and her daughter coming to visit and I had to get Riley's swing built. It's been a year and I need to get it done already.

Last Monday, the first day the official results could come in, came and went. Tuesday I woke up to a horrible cold and ended up staying home from work. I later decided that turned out to be a blessing when we got "the call to change our lives."

I will be focusing on how I feel, without the constant apology to those who have it worse - it is to be understood. But please let it be known that I sincerely understand that others suffer a worse fate and suffer more on a daily basis as they receive treatments. I will be linking to some of these blogs of which I am aware. Funny thing is is that they in turn realize that they have it good compared to others. It is life's theory of relativity in action.

The journey down this fork in the road begins, and you are welcome to travel it with me and my family.

Thank you and God Bless You for your prayers on our behalf.


tmm said...

I am glad you have started a blog!!I too am saddened that THIS is the prompting. You know You, Shelly, and the girls are in our hearts and prayers. CONSTANTLY.


Sally said...

Thanks, glad we will be able to keep in touch
with your progress. Your dad had told me last
week....our best to the four of you...we will
be praying for you...seems each week their is
someone else with cancer....we have a friend
that just found out he has prostrate cancer.
love, Kenny and Sally

Anonymous said...

Emory, when we heard your news we felt like we had been kicked in the stomach. Our hearts just ache for your family as nobody should have to endure any of this. We are relieved to hear that the prognosis is good but are well aware that the journey to recovery may be a little bumpy at times. Jayden and I have included you in our prayers every night at bedtime and you and your family will stay there until you are healed. Thank you for creating this blog so we can walk this journey with you. You may find that it is very therapeutic to put it all out there. I know I did. We are praying for your and your family.

Carrie said...

Thanks Emory for allowing us to share in this journey with you. Like I told Shelly, the more people that know only means the more prayers that will you will be lifted in. And may I say you are such an elegant writer. I always knew you were good with numbers, but didn't realize you were just as good with words. We are with you in and beyond this journey.

Anonymous said...


You will continue to be in our prayers. The one thing you said that struck home with me was that you know there are others that have it worse. I too remember when I lost the baby that after hearing other stories, I was thankful that my situation ended the way it did. It could have been worse. I was able to keep myself pulled together with knowing that my little baby went back to God and that he was also going to help me get through this. With Christ you can do all things and he will help you, through prayer. Focus on the positives out of this situation and you will prevail. We love you and will continue to pray for a strong recovery.

Shannon & Ernie

Rachel Hendricks said...

To the Brown Family:

Just know that we are always here for you, and will help in what ever ways we can to get through this. We are family and thats what we do!
We pray for a speedy and successful recovery every day!

Jeff, Rachel, Brooke and Bailey

Wei Li said...

To Emory and the family,
Thanks for the courage to share with us your feeling. As in the mini marathon, the journey starts and you will get there to the finish line. You and your family will always be in my and my family's thoughts and I will be with you in the whole journey.


Mary Jo Adams said...

I admire your attitude about all of this and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. If there is anything that you need or that I can do for you and your family, please don't hesitate to ask.

Mary Jo Adams

Mark DeVore said...

I'm sorry to find you need to take this journey, I'm praying for you and your family. I'm certain your faith and attitude will carry you to a good outcome. It seems you have an abundance of both. I think it's great that you're sharing your story... it allows us to offer our support. When I had a malignant tumor and part of my colon removed last year, I pretty much kept it to myself. It wasn't until after 6 months of radiation therapy and tests confirming that I was cancer free, that I told most of my friends about it. They were furious with me. Your decision is much more therapeutic. God bless!