Monday, September 28, 2020

My four-month post surgery update

Amazingly, it has already been four months since my big surgery back in May. I'm not sure where those months went, but I'm definitely feeling a lot better than I was in May and it's time to update you all. 

I had a quick read over last month's post to remind myself what I've already shared with you, and it was encouraging to see how much has improved just in this last month. 

My smile is 100% back to normal now, as you can see in the photo above, which was taken this weekend. Already the memory of not being able to smile properly is beginning to fade. I still can't believe how close I was to losing the nerve that controls my mouth. My surgeon thought that if we had waited another two weeks for surgery, he would have had to sever it. As it was, he had to peel the tumour right off it, which is why the nerve was in shock for so long. I'm thankful to God that he protected my smile. 

Speaking of my surgeon, I saw him a few weeks back and he was happy with how everything is healing. I won't need to see him again until August next year, when he will take over my care again after I finish with my year-long Keytruda treatment and the oncologist who is managing that. 

I can now lift my arm straight up above my head to hang out the washing. (It was probably hanging out the washing every day that got it back to normal so quickly.) I was even able to prune our hedge with the new hedge trimmer Paul gave me for my birthday. (Yes, I became a year older since my last post.) When pruning the hedge, I was slightly weaker on my left-hand side compared to my right, but the fact I could do it at all felt like a miracle. 

I've been able to see both my lovely physiotherapists in the last month, and one of them asked if I always heal this quickly. I took that as a good sign.

In the two blood tests since my last post, my liver became mildly inflamed and my thyroid became overactive, but then both returned to normal. Praise God!

My CT scan with contrast didn't show anything abnormal - no sign of new tumours forming. Hallelujah! I'll be having my next CT scan in late November, and then every three months after that for a couple of years. I know the possibility still exists that new tumours will form in the future, but I have made my peace with it. I trust God with my present and my future. 

I received my 5th cycle of Keytruda (pembrolizumab) immunotherapy last week, and have 12 more cycles to go. I'll be receiving them three-weekly until July next year, as long as my body continues to respond well to them (not have any major side effects). I'm so grateful that I'm not suffering any of the common or not-so common side effects from my treatment. Thank you Lord!

The potager garden that I showed you in development last month is now finished and planted with a mixture of vegetables and flowers. It's the view out my kitchen window and I love looking at it as I wash the dishes. (We don't have a dishwasher, so I wash the dishes multiple times a day.)

I've been incredibly challenged and encouraged by Jen Wilkin's Bible study, Sermon on the Mount, where she delves into Jesus' first recorded sermon. Jen's 9-part Sermon on the Mount video series is available for free via Lifeway Women at the moment. I highly recommend it as it has helped me to better understand God's heart and to draw closer to Him. 

I'm still eating mostly plant-based, although I've starting eating the odd treat too because it turns out I'm not very good at only eating fruit and vegetables. I don't miss meat at all, which is strange since I ate it my whole life. We're monitoring my iron, folate and vitamin B12 levels in my three-weekly blood tests, and so far they're all in the normal range, although my iron did drop in my last test, so I'm now taking Spatone iron supplements to help boost that back up. 

For the past few weeks, I've gone for a three-kilometre walk every morning and God has been so good to me - it hasn't rained once on me in all that time. It often pours with rain not long before or after I go walking, but I've never been caught in it. It feels like a hug from God every time I walk out under His sunshine. 

You can probably tell, but I've really felt the closeness of God this past month and it has been a truly special time for me. I almost wish everyone could get cancer, just so they could experience His goodness as I have. 

I think that's all my news for now but, as always, do feel free to ask any questions you may have. I'm continuing to be as open as possible about my journey. 

God bless you all. 

Love Emma


  1. Hello and a very big thank you. Your earlier posts had motivated me to get my 'spot' checked on my neck. I had a biopsy and now ive just had a small surgery... as melanoma cells present. Waiting to hear if they have cleared the margins.So pleased I took action ...thank you.. you are an amazing woman who also writes very well. Take care

    1. Oh I'm so glad you got it checked out! Melanoma is almost always treatable if caught early. That's fantastic. Let me know if you get the all clear.


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