The Second Stumbling Block.. Oncocytoma   76 comments

It’s July 2006.

I awake one morning, look in the mirror and see that my neck is very swollen. So off to the Doctor I go and I’m diagnosed with the mumps. Well, for and old biddy like me this was hilarious.

Anyway, six weeks later my neck was still swollen so back to the Doctor I go for the third time. He then sends me to see a (maxillofacial surgeon) face, jaw and neck specialist, who promptly sends me for a CT scan. When the results were in, the Doctor took one look at the pictures, he whistled, used a word that I cannot blog, looked at Rob and me in amazement and said he has never seen anything like this before.

Apparently around my jaw and neck area there where about ninety small growths. So the Doc, under a local proceeds to remove one of the growths (giving Rob a biography lesson at the same time) and draws blood to send away for tests. The pathologists where puzzled, they had never seen anything like this either, but six weeks later the Doctor told Rob and I that I had been diagnosed with Oncocytoma, which he explained to us was a small tumour that attacks you’re salivary glands and lymph nodes and that it is considered to be very rare. The good news was, that it was not cancerous, and it was not life threatening.

After two months of research of how to treat Oncocytoma, he found out that chemotherapy and radiation had no effect on the growths, so the only way was to have an operation to remove them surgically. By doing this he explained to Rob and me, he would have to cut me from behind both ears, and down to the middle of my neck on both sides and peel back my face. Then he had to lift the nervous system to be able to reach the lymph nodes and saliva glands. The nerves would be replaced after all the nodes were removed, causing temporary paralysis for six to eight months in my face, and I would have to have intensive physiotherapy to bring my facial movement back to normal again.

Well up to now Rob and I had been fine with my diagnoses, after all it wasn’t cancer. But now he was talking paralysis, and that scared the living daylights out of me. The darkness and desperate feelings of the unknown were not something one is accustomed to.

The night before the operation, lying in a hospital bed the Anaesthetist came to do his normal checks. He asked if we could pray together for The Lord to guide him, as well as the two Surgeons that were to operate on me. I looked at him and said “Please I would love that.” Again I experienced that feeling of calm, and being in the presence of The Lord. I had such a peaceful sleep that night, knowing all would be well.

I woke the next morning, ready to face whatever was to come. I don’t recall when they wheeled me in, but Rob had to endure a nine hour wait without knowing what was going on. My daughter had come to be with her Dad to try and keep him calm, I believe he threatened many times to enter the operating area to find out what was happening. Our only concern was that each and every node and gland that was removed had to be checked for cancer. They were all clear, thank the Lord.

I returned home and I was to start physiotherapy the next day.

I look in the mirror and I see a face with no wrinkles, my eyes are darting from side to side and I cannot blink (I had to close my eyes with my fingers to replace the blinking action). I try to smile but nothing happens. I try to open my mouth wide and I can’t. Talking wasn’t easy either, and as for eating and drinking, I had to liquidize all my food, and use a straw by holding it between my teeth because my lips could not move. Rob would tell me a joke and I would laugh, but he said it was weird as my face showed no emotions.

Rob was my pillar of strength but I knew it was hard on him. So often we forget that the people around us in time of illness, are suffering just as much, if not more. So four weeks after my operation I booked us in at a lodge near the Kruger game reserve as a surprise, and a thank you to him.

Needless to say we enjoyed it tremendously, Rob even more so because he could take photos of the animals and birds. I still had no smile, so on all the photos I stood with my index finger pointing up representing my smile. I had to get a smile in somehow. (Note, it was my index finger, not my middle finger) LOL.

On the seventh week I jumped for joy, because I noticed that I had a wrinkle on my forehead that showed that the physio was working. It took another six months of physio before my face returned to normal.

I would like to end with Psalm 103: 2-5 from “The Good News Bible.”

Praise The Lord, my soul
and do not forget how kind he is.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He keeps me from the grave
and blesses me with love and mercy.
He fills my life with good things,
So that I stay young and strong like an eagle.

This is where we stayed…


This what we saw from the Lodge…


This is what I did most of the time….


This is what Rob did all the time…..


and this is me smiling…..



Posted 02/10/2013 by linda in Cancer

Tagged with , , , ,

76 responses to “The Second Stumbling Block.. Oncocytoma

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  1. So inspiring!

  2. God is truly good, generous, kind and forgiving. He is our healer and a friend to hang on too. Your story is a source of courage and inspiration to us all. God bless.

  3. I admire your strenghts, your humor and your faith. Love the photos too, it made me smile 🙂

  4. Glad to have discovered you through bulldog. What an ordeal!

  5. Gobsmacked is not a word I would normally use, but it’s how I feel after reading your post. You both have have such courage.

    Brian (aka Golfspice)
    • Thanks Brian. Wow!! Gobsmacked, now there’s a word I have not heard in ages. Use to use it myself In the good old days.

  6. Wow, just wow Linda. I can’t even begin to imagine. Yes definitely praise the lord, and you – you string survivor you! 🙂 Those photographs are wonderful and capture so well your time with Rob at the lodge! Blessings to you, Penny xx

  7. You really have endured so much! And still it seems like you both still keeps smiling and enjoy life. That’s just very impressing. 🙂

  8. Scary ordeal.

  9. Love it! Images that makes us feel that we were there too. Thanks. Have a blessed week my friend.

  10. Thanks be to God! What an experience…so totally frightening. Your story highlights the healing powers of the Love we have in our lives – Divine and human. It all comes down to it being the most important thing to have in one’s life.

  11. After seeing what my mum was like after having a stroke, I can understand what you went through. Let me rephrase that … I have an idea of what you went through. I can only imagine the difficulties you and rob went through. Now i understand why you said that number 3 of my post meant a lot to you. I am very glad that I could put it there for you.

    You are one brave woman Linda.

    • Thank you Al, so sorry about you’re Mum I feel for her, I also know how hard something like this can be on the family. Once again thank you for you’re post.

  12. I’m so glad all turned out well in the end! That must have been hard on both you and Rob, and the rest of the family too.

  13. This puts my current common cold in perspective. Glad to see you overcame this challenge.

    • Thank you so much. Do not put you’re self down,I could handle cancer, but when I had the common cold, I was such a baby.

  14. I am so glad Rob reblogged this post. It’s wonderful to get to know you. I am amazed at the surgery as you describe it, and your wonderful attitude. It had to be a really hard thing for you both, and for the whole family! Your faith is obviously very important to you, and I’m so glad to be able to share that with you. You’re both amazing people. Good luck going forward with your blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! 🙂 Debra

    • Thank you Debra, our faith gave us courage and a sense of humor to carry on. I am new at blogging, but I must say I AM enjoying it tremendously. So nice to meet you. Linda.

  15. My mouth just fell open when you described the surgery procedure! Lifting your nervous system and then replacing all those nerves back! Then when I read about you jumping for joy when you had a wrinkle…that just made me really smile – you are definitely a beautiful, strong and amazing person.

  16. Wow…how terrible…and grateful…and funny…and horrible…love the wrinkles…yes…thank god!

  17. Amazingly strong. I am in awe at your faith and strength. Thank goodness you have each other. Both of us wish you all the best.

    Marks and Joey

  18. Whew! wow what a neat testimony of your faith and what an awesome God we serve. I am so glad you shared this, thank you so much, and most of all I am glad you are good. Not sure I could have done so well, you are my hero.

    God bless you really I see that he does ;o)

    • Thank you Kymee, without my faith I would have been lost. I don’t think anyone has called me a hero before, so lots of hugs to you. Now I can tell Rob when I don’t get my own way ” Hey! You are messing with a hero ” LOL. God bless.

  19. What a nasty development – but again through with flying colours!
    Except *accusingly* you missed the opportunity to clean up at professional poker during that period! 🙂

  20. Wonderful photographs dear Linda, you are both great and brave souls… God Bless you, Thanks and Love, nia

  21. An absolutely incredible journey you two have shared. I am so blessed that you have each other to lean on. God is so very good in His care and protection of you both. I am so thankful that this was reposted. I love learning more about my cherished friends. Linda, you are absolutely lovely!! Even with now smile in these shots, you shine!! Have to go get some tissues now!! Thank you again!!

    • Thank you for those kind words Skye.Rob and I are very blessed, and we are so thankful that God is in our lives, Without Him we would have crumbled.

  22. Oh my goodness, how horrendous for you. I wish you a speedy recovery and hope the physio gets you back to normal. How wonderful that the anaesthetist said prayers with you 🙂

    • Thank you so much, actually I am fully recovered Booketta as this happened a few years ago. But thank you for your nice sentiments. And yes the anaesthetist really lifted my spirit with his prayer.

  23. I tried a few times to type a comment which said how tough and strong you are, but I couldn’t find the right words. I think you will know what I mean though. You had such an ordeal…

  24. Reblogged this on The Photographic Journey of bulldog. and commented:
    Linda’s second stumbling bloc post… for those who might have missed it…

  25. What a brave woman you are Linda, you’ve both been through alot by the sounds of it. Your story is inspirational & I’m sure it will be of hope to others struggling through difficulties. Thanks for sharing hun x

  26. Linda, I obviously had no idea what the two of you have had to endure, and this post speaks to your strength, your faith, and the love you two share. It was interesting to hear your reaction to seeing your first wrinkle again, and knowing the reaction that many women have to seeing their first. The essence of who you are shines through your words. I feel blessed to be following along on your journey. Much love to you and Bulldog.

    • Yep! I love my wrinkles, would not want to be without them ever again. LuAnn thank you for following my blog, I really appreciate it. How are you and you’re hubby doing? I often think about what you two have been through. God bless you , Love Linda.

  27. We are so blessed to have our loved ones beside us in time of need for sure Linda. Sounds like you had quite an ordeal hon and I am glad you and Rob got through it. No one should ever complain about their wrinkles again after this post of yours. I wonder, now you can say you know what those women who uses botox feels like. 😆 Looks like you had a lovely time and you did just what my hubby would have done….unless there was lots of water nearby where he could fish. I would do like Rob did….walk around and take photo’s and then pass out like you. hehehehe
    Great post Linda and thanks for sharing with us brave one. 😀 *big hugsU

  28. My eyes are full of tears; sad tears for what you endured and beautiful tears for the epitome of a love story at it’s finest. Love how you share your personal journey, I start reading your Blogs and get lost in them as what you write is captivating!

  29. Thank you for sharing this journey with us. I’m delighted it worked out for you.


  30. I am amazed at the strength of you and Rob. It is wonderful to see. And what an ordeal. Love the photos.

  31. My, that was some ordeal, LInda. but you got through it, with Rob’s support, the doctor’s expertise and of course, your faith. We do have marvellous South African doctors, don’t we? What a beautiful place to recuperate. 🙂

  32. That had to be quite the scary ordeal. Wrinkles? No wrinkles? Yep, we’ve earned each wrinkle and should be proud to display especially when faced with no movement. That trip sounds like the perfect way to celebrate the future. Oh, to have elephants that close by….love it.

  33. You two are just precious! What a wonderful tale and somebody pass me a tissue…I believe my eyes are a bit moist.

  34. Oh my goodness, what an ordeal! I can’t really find the words because I can’t possibly imagine how it was to go through that. I love that you found a way to smile, smiling is important however we do it! 🙂

  35. Well nice to see the new post at last… I love these photos they bring back good memories… specially all the animals we saw from the Lapa, like those elephant that look a fair distance but are only 10 metres away… wonderful…

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