The Day Before Surgery

26 Nov

So far in our cancer journey we have tried:

  • photo-dynamic therapy (laser)
  • cryotherapy
  • topical chemo
  • topical acne creams

Tomorrow we jump into the surgery category. The one I wanted to avoid, but know that I will not be able to.  Cora’s biopsy sites show a complete scoop out of her skin and they were just biopsies.  Tomorrow Cora will have a tumor removed from her lower eyelid.  You can see it in this photo pretty well.  You can also see a bunch of little bumps. Each and every bump is skin cancer.  This gives you a little idea how her whole body is riddled with this little cancers.  Little cancers that might eventually grow big like the one under her eye.

It’s a tricky surgery, as the mole itself is in her eyelashes.  They will carefully try to keep all of her eyelashes and also keep the muscles of the eyelid in tact.  They explained to us the inner muscles of the lid and how they work, but in all honesty, all I was thinking about was the possibility of this surgery changing that amazing eye.

You see, these amazing eyes would stare at me each day, multiple times a day over the computer screen, while I was trying to memorize the face, the voice, the eyes of a child I had not yet met.  I knew those eyes by memory the day we met her and they are like little windows into her soul.

But it is very important that we go at this mole surgically because sadly sometimes people lose their eye to skin cancer if the cancer grows into the eye socket.  The surgeon will scoop out what he thinks is a good margin and send it to the lab while Cora sleeps under general sedation.  The lab will share if the margins are clear and if not, he’ll take more.  Unfortunately, this is not mohs surgery, so if there is not clear margins, we will not know where exactly the margins were unclear and he will have to widen his “scoop” all around, not just in the area that had the unclear margins. (Make sense?)  So pray for a shallow tumor that enables the smallest amount of skin to be taken out.  A woman we met with Cora’s condition told us that this surgery – identical to what Cora is having done – was the first surgery that changed her appearance.  Praying that child-skin heals better, faster and with less scaring.

We can not do mohs because it is done with no sedation in older teens/adults – not a 5-yr-old.  There is no proper way to sedate her at the Mohs clinic.  Her surgeon is a widely respected, intelligent surgeon who only works on eyes and eyelids, so she is in good hands and we trust him.

At this point in her walk with this she knows she has, as she puts it, “lots of cancers”.  She knows that we’re trying to get rid of the cancers.  She knows that she’s going to have surgery and this brings up all kinds of memories and emotions of going to the hospital in Seoul for surgery.  Apparently alone, according to her memories. (It’s hard to read things like this when I think about that.)  But she is now also secure in the fact that mommies and daddies go TO the hospital with their babies.  (Forever, my sweet girl!)

Is this surgery a big deal?  Not in the grand scheme of things in life, of course.  But it’s the start of a new way of treating her cancers that I wanted to avoid at all cost.  Our dermatologist wants to try a new sedating and “scraping” method to see how that works.  Sounds lovely.  “Will it scar?”  “Yes, with her skin tone, there will be scaring unfortunately”.  “Lovely.”

Our appointment at Mayo is in a few weeks and we will be seeing a man who is well-versed in Cora’s condition who will hopefully lead us on a not-yet-known path to treating Cora without scaring up her beautiful body more than it already is.  Pipe dream, probably, but I’m holding on to that dream.

So today I finish my monthly writing obligations, fill my pantry with favorite foods and get ready to hunker down for a few days while she heals.   Keep her and the doctors in your thoughts and prayers!

And just for fun, a little glimpse at little Cora reading. The girl can tell a good story. 😉  (“glad” is a new word in her vocab as of a couple weeks ago.  She finds as many ways possible to use it while reading. 😉  ) Oh, and though this little girl could care less about her Barbies, her BFF at school apparently loves them. Every woman in her stories is named Barbie in her friend M’s honor.  Even Pocahontas.


4 Responses to “The Day Before Surgery”

  1. Nora November 26, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    I am sending you all so much love and healing energy.

  2. Vanessa November 26, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

    I’ll keep Cora in my prayers. ((hugs))

  3. grammom November 26, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    Cora will be in our prayers.

  4. Jenn November 29, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    This post just makes my eyes welled up every time I read. Thank you so much for diligently posting the updates. And the video clip is so precious. Cora is such a sweet child – just the daughter every mom would dream of having! I think of you and Cora all the time. You will be in my prayers.

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