[Submitted by: William Anton Lee]
Post-op appointment today brought great news. Dawne’s thyroid tumors were totally encapsulated, meaning the cancerous stuff was contained within each tumor and not in the thyroid itself. When the thyroid was removed all of the cancer cells came with it. Combine this with earlier news that the lymph nodes draining her thyroid are clear of cancer and there is ample reason to celebrate. METASTASIS IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY.
More good news. Pathology results combined with predictive modeling the doctors use suggests that there is no advantage to doing “radioactive iodine” (RAI) treatments. This is huge. These treatments have really bad downsides for many patients. We’ll take the doctors recommendation to not do these.
Dawne did have two tumors. A 3.5 cm one in the left thyroid and a less than 1 mm one in the right thyroid. Both were found to be cancerous. Interestingly, prior to surgery the left tumor was thought to be only 2 cm and it was the only one to have a biopsy done on it. How good is it that Dawne decided in advance of surgery to have her entire thyroid removed? Darn good; it turned out to absolutely be the right decision. No future surgery will be needed now.
Recovery is in process. Balancing thyroid-hormone replacement is key and the doctor expects this will take a few months. Slit throat needs to heal and it is looking pretty good for being several days old. And unexpectedly, muscles need to heal in her arms and the back of her neck. The doctor explained how Dawne’s head was titled back at an abnormal angle and arms in the crucifix position during this protracted surgery which over stretches these muscles.
So family and friends, scream thank you doctor!
Picture says it best!
NO CANCER detectable in tissues and lymph nodes taken during surgery!
Dawne is home and doing extremely well. Final pathology will be done by the end of next week. We have every expectation that final pathology will show Dawne is completely clear of all cancer.
Remember our earlier “med-tech” talk? Final pathology is key. We are confidently looking at a “pathologically complete response” [pCR] directly attributed to the antibody drugs in Dawne’s regime. I am so glad Dawne fought the fight to get Perjeta added to her drug infusion protocol. Once added, Dawne’s tumors shrank away to nothing in 3 cycles, leaving the 3 remaining cycles to chase any breakaway cells that would be looking to seed somewhere else in her body.
Happy barely describes our elation this morning – more like euphoric!
Pictures are rumored to be worth 1,000 words. What do you think? Doesn’t Dawne look remarkable coming out of a 4-hour surgery.
I can’t say enough about the support you all have given Dawne.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
William Anton Lee
William writes …
Some of you have observed it is bold to share Dawne’s journey so openly and candidly. We do so passionately because we have learned much from others who have chosen to do likewise. Cancer is a wicked disease which takes a community to beat it down. A special thank you to Cousin Danene – she has gifted hands and a big heart. Dawne’s days are definitely easier having her attentive care.
COMING OUT: WILLIAM’S WAY
My husband posted this heartfelt open letter on Facebook. William wrote:
“I’m inspired tonight to share extremely personal feelings after several days making peace with raw emotions. It is an odd place this Facebook which is generationally our new post office, albeit a bit more public than days of old. It is here we communicate so much of our daily lives, loves and challenges. What’s up you ask? Well, apparently Life has a few more bumps and opportunities in store for our family this year and specifically my lovely wife, Dawne.
Quite possibly confusing, even troubling, reading into my words tonight – for this I apologize upfront. By mid-week I will better explain the why. Until then your quiet prayers and positive thoughts and energy are greatly appreciated as I walk with the love of my life, hand-in-hand through her initial medical conferences as she considers life altering decisions.
We will remember that our journey brings with it wonderful friends who understand the complexity and surprises of life and the power of love which given a proper ear and open heart keeps us afloat through the stormy times. Much appreciation here for family, friends, and those special people who let us know day in and day out just how much our friendship means to them.
There is no doubt that in the days, weeks, months and years ahead we will be circling the wagons and doing all that we can do to remind Dawne that she is pure joy, a beautiful soul who has brightened all of our lives, and more than deserving of every benefit and opportunity that life can arrange for her. I hasten to add that while we use the word love to convey our deepest passions and commitments, it is at this time we search for words that make love seem ordinary. We seek words that better describe our heart and soul. I more than suspect that in the end it will take well over a thousand words because it is that the love and the acts of love given so unconditionally and thoroughly by our dearest friend have bettered us forever.”