We thought it might be useful to set up a website so we can update those of you who are interested in knowing what is happening with Linda. Isaiah 40v31 seemed an appropriate name for the website, since it has always been a favourite verse of Linda’s and it describes the wonderful hope of those who wait upon God. The first song Linda ever wrote were these verses put to music.
At the end of April, Linda discovered a small lump on the left side of her neck. It was about the size of a marble. She didn’t have any other symptoms so just ignored the lump. In mid May she began to have some back and neck pain but wrote it off to the piano practicing she was doing for a choir she played for … and also some manual work she had done at the Manitoulin Bible camp. In mid June she developed another small lump on the left of her neck (beside the other one) and started to get swelling on the opposite side of her neck (right side). She went to her family doctor at the end of June … and he wanted to get blood work and an ultrasound done to see what was going on.
Her bloodwork returned back normal, but an ultrasound showed the lymph nodes were enlarged on both sides of her neck … the right side being a lot worse. The ultrasound report was suspicious of lymphoma. At her first appointment with the radiation oncologist on 30 July, he was 90% confident she had lymphoma. He was basing his opinion on the swelling on Linda’s neck and the way it was presenting.
But she has had two fine needle biopsies on each side of her neck and a CT scan since that first appointment. One biopsy came back inconclusive … the other (from the right side) came back as “adenocarcinoma” originating in the GI / pancreaticobiliary region. The CT scan shows there is cancer in various parts of her body (abdomen, neck, upper chest). The doctors aren’t sure where it has originated from. The doctors would still like to do further testing to find out where the cancer originated to create a specific chemo/radiation treatment plan (rather than just general chemo). The doctors felt they have a bit of time to do this since she’s not terribly sick. Apart from pain associated with the swelling in the right side of her neck and feeling very tired, she has no other symptoms … and is feeling well overall. Obviously its been a time of extreme stress on the body, hearing the doctors talk about cancer that has spread to different parts of her body.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Manitoulin where we live … it is a small community. The nearest Cancer Centre and large hospital is in Sudbury, which is a 2-hour drive from where we are. Most of Linda’s appointments have been in Sudbury so far.
So it’s been a rollercoaster of a few weeks … from going from not knowing what we were dealing with, to possibly lymphoma to now cancer in various parts of the body. Thankfully some of these tests and appointments happened during the three weeks we were at the Manitoulin Bible Camps. This is a place our family loves to be and it helped to have Linda’s mind busy on things at camp. Although, it was hard for Linda to put on a good face all the time. She was brave though and just went into the trailer (caravan) when she needed to.
We are now waiting to hear back from doctors in Sudbury for the extra tests. Our family doctor has also sent a referral to the Cancer Centre in Toronto (Princess Margaret Hospital). We thought it would be good to get a second opinion on things … and possibly undergo some tests in Toronto that may not be available in Sudbury.
Sorry this first entry is so long. We just thought it would be helpful to provide the background and the journey we have had so far. We ask that you continue to pray for Linda and our family. This is a hard burden to bear but we know that ALL things work together for good to those who love God.